Victim's Support

Young People

Protecting and looking after our young people

Stalking is as much a young person's problem as it is an adult's, yet it is an area that has been primarily overlooked and ignored. Stalking-assisted technology and the use of Social Media has increased the dangers that young people face every day.

Stalking amongst young people underpins some of the worst form of abuse against them:

  • Child exploitation
  • Child abduction
  • Child Grooming
  • Sexual trafficking
  • Bullying
  • Sexual assault
  • Physical assault

If you or someone you know feel you are in danger, please contact the National Stalking Helpline on 0808 802 0300 or view the list of helplines in our Helplines section of this website.

Bullying and its links to stalking

The lack of practical research highlights the fact that stalking amongst juveniles is an area that has not been given the attention and action it deserves, given the prevalence of the problem and its impact on a young person's life.

A study from Australia, the first of its kind in the world, interviewed teenagers who had been convicted of stalking in Australia.

Through analysing consecutive court applications for a restraining order against a juvenile because of stalking behaviours, 299 juvenile stalkers were identified - 64% were male and 69% of their victims were female. Three out of four had repeatedly approached their victims and 67% used telephone calls and text messages. Three-quarters had threatened their target and 54% had physically or sexually assaulted them.

The research further proves that juvenile stalking is a very dangerous form of bullying and one that is likely to escalate to youth-on-youth violence.

The study concludes that the link between bullying and stalking has been "ignored":

"The plight of pupils who are being stalked and criminally harassed is often ignored because parents, schools and police think that they are simply being bullied, researchers say. Aggressive behaviour that in adults might trigger police investigations is "trivialised" when it happens to teenagers, but they are more likely to come to physical harm at the hands of a stalker"

(Published in the British Journal of Psychiatry)

Bullying Statistics:

  • 54% were physically attacked - some sustaining significant injuries.
  • 2% suffered serious sexual assault.
  • 75% of the victims reported being threatened. These ranged from veiled threats such as "watch your back", to explicit threats to harm, rape or kill.
  • 15% of cases - threats of violence had been made against the victim's family or friends as well.
  • 36% of juvenile stalkers are female - this is a higher proportion than amongst adult stalkers. They tend to focus their harassment on other girls and often recruit friends as accomplices to their stalking.

If you or someone you know feel you are in danger, please contact the National Stalking Helpline on 0808 802 0300 or view the list of helplines in our Helplines section of this website.

The Online Predatory Stalker

Online Predators are sexual predators who use Information and Communications Technology to locate, target and victimise minors. Common forums used to target children include chat rooms, instant messaging or social networking sites for the purpose of flirting and the ultimate goal of meeting and engaging in sexual activities either online or in person.

This online epidemic is known as Sextortion and with so many children online, predators can easily find and exploit them for their own ends. Children's trusting natures and naiveté make them perfect targets for perpetrators - both people they know and those they do not. For predators, the Internet only provides another useful tool in the stalker's armoury, offering them anonymity whilst they seek out and groom children for criminal purposes such as:

  • Producing and distributing child pornography
  • Contacting and stalking children for the purpose of engaging in sexual acts
  • Exploiting children for sexual tourism for personal and commercial purposes

The following statistics, collected from the UK police in 2012, show alarming results:

  • 273 children were targeted by predators they did not know who tried to or did snatch them
  • 52 children were snatched
  • 22 cases - the offender attempted to take a child in front of their parent
  • 4 cases involved an attempt to take a child from a shopping centre

If you or someone you know feel you are in danger, please contact the National Stalking Helpline on 0808 802 0300 or view the list of helplines in our Helplines section of this website.

Stalking on College and University Campuses

Whilst not currently at the forefront of a national conversation, sexual harassment, and assault remains as prevalent an issue among student populations as domestic violence.  Perhaps no venue has greater potential for stalking-related behaviours than college or university campuses, and up until now it has been an area that has primarily been over-looked and ignored.

Research studies conclude that college and university-aged women experience a higher rate of stalking-related violence than the general population. Sexual harassment is more prevalent and may lead to more serious forms of sexual assault.

While there is a lack of up-to-date research within the UK, the 2010 National Union of Students (NUS) 'Hidden Marks' report, based on 2,000 female student's responses offer some staggering results:

  • 14% of women students (1 in 7) reported being the victim of serious sexual assault or serious physical violence while at university or college
  • 12% have been stalked while at university or college
  • 10% have been the victim of serious violence
  • 16% have experienced unwanted kissing or molesting
  • 7% have been subjected to serious assault
  • 10% were given drugs or alcohol against their will before the attack
  • 60% of cases of sexual assault or stalking, the perpetrator was also a student
  • 49% of perpetrators attended the same institution
  • 21% of victims were more likely to report stalking
  • 4% of women students who have been seriously sexually assaulted have reported it to their institution
  • 10% of women students who have been seriously sexually assaulted have reported it to the police

Recognising pre-predatory (stalking) behaviour is the first step towards preventing offending and victimisation patterns among emerging adults. Failure to do so can result in adverse academic outcomes and high rates of physical and psychological injury.

College and universities have a duty of care to ensure a safe environment and respect for an individual's human rights to work or study without fear of harassment. More is needed to be done to build the capacity of universities and public safety officials to systematically address the barriers that inhibit victims from reporting whilst ensuring they have the resources necessary to appropriately respond to reports of stalking and other forms of interpersonal violence.

If you or someone you know feel you are in danger, please contact the National Stalking Helpline on 0808 802 0300 or view the list of helplines in our Helplines section of this website.