National changes have been made in legislation on stalking that has made stalking a specific offence for the first time.
The new legislation also includes a more serious offence of stalking involving fear of violence or serious alarm or distress.
Stalking can include:
- Publishing material relating to the victim
- Interfering with property
- Watching or spying
National research shows that, on average, someone is stalked for two and a half years - and eighty percent of victims are stalked by someone they know.
Stalking is believed to affect one in five women and one in ten men at some point in their lives.
To report an offence of stalking or harassment, you can contact Northumbria Police on 101 or in an emergency by dialling 999.
Northumbria Police is urging victims of stalking and harassment to get in touch so that they can help them.
The call follows national changes in legislation which have made stalking a specific and punishable offence for the first time.
Police have also been given new powers to search premises and properties for evidence of stalking behaviour.
According to new research from a study by Durham University, women in the region do not think that police take rape, domestic violence and stalking as seriously as they should do.
The study found that only half the women would definitely report domestic violence if it happened to them.
Only 49 per cent said they would definitely report domestic violence if it happened to them and just over half of women in the study would definitely report stalking to the police.
The study, funded by the Northern Rock Foundation, comes at a time when new legislation is being enforced to criminalise stalking as an offence in its own right for the first time.