What to do about cyber-stalking?
Take all threats to your safety seriously – call the police on One Double Zero (100) if you’re in immediate danger.
If you live with the cyber-stalker
Increase your personal safety – both physical and online
If your cyber-stalker is a current or ex-partner, call Police. Use a public phone or a friend’s mobile – don’t use your own mobile or home phone in case it’s being tracked or you’re overheard.Use the Women4n6 Checklist to improve your online safety and secure your electronic devices.
If you don’t live with the cyber-stalker
Avoid contact with the cyberstalker
Give them a single clear message at the earliest possible stage that their attention is unwelcome and that you don’t want any of their attention or any contact from them.Instead of responding to their posts, messages, texts or calls, collect them as evidence.
Actions to take
Talk to close friends and family
Tell them what’s happening so they can support you, and help you avoid contact with the cyber-stalker and stay safe.
Collect evidence of the cyberstalking
Collect evidence of the cyber-stalking when it’s safe to do so:
- take screen shots of abusive posts, texts or emails
- keep the evidence safe on a separate device or save it to a USB and leave the USB with a friend.
Police will need evidence of the cyberstalking to prove that a crime is being committed. Ask police what evidence they need, for example, do they need dates, times, photos and recordings?
Keeping evidence of cyber-stalking can be risky – you need to make sure the cyber-stalker can’t access the evidence you keep. Can you keep a list of the evidence or copies of the evidence somewhere else, such as on a friend’s computer at their house? Mobile apps can collect evidence, but don’t use them if the cyber-stalker can access your phone, because they might find the evidence.
Contact the police
Go to your local police station for help:
- take a friend or family member for support, and have them make notes of what the police tell you
- tell the police what’s been happening, show them the evidence you’ve collected, and ask them what you can do to improve your safety
- ask the police what other evidence they need
- keep notes of your conversations with police and copies of police reports at a safe place, like a friend’s house.
Get the support you need
During this difficult time, remember that family, friends and services can help you. Getting the support you need is important for you – it will help you protect yourself, and your sense of well being. Talking to a counselor or calling a confidential and anonymous support service can give you a safe space to help you manage your emotions.
If your family and friends are also affected by cyberstalking, encourage them to seek help and support too.If children are involved, go to your GP and their school as their support can help your children feel safer and cope better.
Remember, you might need help even after the cyber-stalking has stopped. Talk to your support worker if you have one or visit your GP for a referral to a local support service. If you need to see a psychologist, you may be eligible for a Medicare rebate under Medicare’s Mental Health Treatment Plan. You may be able to see a Mental Health Nurse – your GP can check your eligibility and get a referral for you, and your children too if they need it.