Advertisement

  1. ITV Report

A third of stalking victims now targeted online

Nearly one in five women have reported being stalked Credit: PA

More than a third of stalking victims are now targeted online, a new study reveals.

Nearly one in five women and one in 12 men have suffered repeated and unwanted contact or intrusive behaviour, according to the poll.

Of those complaints 36.8% involved stalking online, research by the Suzy Lamplugh Trust showed.

Social media and web platforms at the centre of the complaints included Facebook, Twitter, dating websites, WhatsApp, Pinterest, Instagram, Tumblr, Flickr and Snapchat.

All forms of social media are being used to stalk people, the report says Credit: PA

As a result, 22% of complainants withdrew from various forms of online activity or social media, the charity reported.

Experts said the findings highlight how cyber space has given perpetrators a new method of stalking.

"New methods of communication mean stalking online is something you can never get away from", said forensic psychiatrist Dr David James.

"In effect, you carry the stalker 'in your pocket' in the form of any mobile phone. This can be especially traumatising for victims".

The charity also reported that of those who reported their complaints to the police, 43.4% found the response "not very helpful".

18.8%
Number of cases lasting longer than a year
22.8%
Cases involving ex-partners
8.1%
Cases involving work colleagues
1/4
Number of total stalking cases reported to the police