A simple & safe way to record incidents of stalking

Have you experienced stalking? There’s an app for that.

FollowItApp is designed to help victim-survivors of stalking record what’s happening to them. Created with victim-survivors of stalking, the app lets you keep a log of stalking incidents.

The app is tailored to Scots law but can be used regardless of whether or not you decide to report to the police.

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What is stalking?

Stalking is a crime. A stalker engages in behaviour that causes the victim to feel afraid.

A wide range of behaviours may qualify as stalking – including sending unwanted messages, harassment and monitoring on social media, following or loitering, or verbal abuse. In Scots law, stalking is defined as any person engaged in a ‘course of conduct’ that places another person in a state of fear or alarm. A ‘course of conduct’ is defined as 2 or more incidents. That’s all it takes for stalking incidents to become criminal.

Who can be a stalker?

Most incidents of stalking involve a man stalking his ex-partner, and it is often experienced as part of domestic abuse. For example, an abusive ex-partner may stalk a woman as she tries to leave the relationship.

But stalking does not just happen between partners.  A stalker could also be a friend, a relative, an acquaintance, or a total stranger. No matter who is committing the crime of stalking, it can be a traumatic experience for the victim-survivor.

What is stalking, and what isn't?

According to Scots law, any act that occurs as part of a course of conduct (2 or more instances) and that cause fear and alarm for the victim can be considered an incident of stalking.

This means that non-criminal acts – for example a text message that says ‘your hair looks nice today’ – become criminal when they happen twice or more and cause the victim to feel afraid. A text message like this could easily make someone feel afraid, because it is intended to let them know that they are being watched.

Does stalking only happen to women?

No, anyone can be a victim of stalking. However, statistics show that women are more likely to experience stalking. Often, stalking is a form of gender-based violence – a symptom of the historic and current inequalities of power that exist between men and women. Stalking often occurs as part of domestic abuse, which is also a crime that is overwhelmingly (but not exclusively) carried out by men against women.

What can I do if I am experiencing stalking?

If you are in immediate danger, call 999. 

Stalking is a criminal act. The law in Scotland provides several legal protections for victim-survivors of stalking, and if you want to, you can file a complaint with the police.

Many support services are available to you whether or not you report to the police. FollowItApp is one of them, providing a secure way to record stalking incidents.

What organisations can support me ?

Organizations in Scotland that can provide support for victim-survivors of stalking are listed below.

What can I expect if I go to the police to report stalking?

The police take reports of stalking very seriously. They have specially trained staff to deal with these offences and they work closely with partners to ensure that victim-survivors are provided with support throughout the process.

The SWRC has a dedicated legal guide to reporting stalking to the police in Scotland.

What if I need legal help?

The Scottish Women’s Rights Centre helps women aged 16 and over affected by stalking as well as other forms of violence and abuse. The SWRC provides free legal information and advice through our helpline, legal surgeries and ongoing casework.

FollowItApp — keep a record of stalking incidents

Since stalking can take place at any time, in any place, recording a pattern of behaviour can be tough. But many people carry their phone with them in their pockets. That’s how FollowItApp can help.

FollowItApp is a user-friendly mobile app for smartphones that enables you to record and store information about stalking incidents securely, regardless of whether or not you want to report to the police.

Through the app, you can record what is happening to you wherever you are. An incident log for each event, with easy prompts, helps you keep a note of the details and you can add video content, photos, and screenshots. You can recall the incident details when you want.

How can I get FollowItApp?

It’s really easy. Simply contact the Scottish Women’s Rights Centre and they’ll set you up with an account so you can download the app and start using it. The app is free to use.

Email:
FollowItApp[at]scottishwomensrightscentre.org.uk

Phone:
0141 331 4183

How does it work?

Easy – open the app, enter your PIN and follow the prompts to start logging details of the incident.

Once you have saved the incident, you can delete any photos or videos you’ve added from your phone, confident that these and all the incident details are logged on a secure server for when you need them.

You can recall the data to your phone or request a full report of all the incidents you’ve recorded  from SWRC, whenever you wish.

Giving this incident report to the police means they are less likely to take your phone as evidence, if you choose to report.

Why is the app a helpful way of recording incidents?

The app helps you keep dates and details about the times you have been stalked in one secure place and out of sight, replacing notes, emails, social media posts – or the need to remember dates and details.

You can use the app as much or as little as you choose; and give as much or as little detail about the incident as you choose. You can add photos, videos or screenshots of texts and social media posts.

The app has been specifically built to complement the requirements of Scots law. What you record in the app can go towards building a stronger case if you ever decide to go to court. However, the app is for you to keep a note of incidents for yourself, regardless of whether or not you choose to report to the police.

How long is my information stored for?

SWRC stores your data for up to 15 years from the date of the last incident you record. You can request your information to be deleted at any time.

Is the app only for women in Scotland?

The app is provided through Scottish Women’s Rights Centre, which means that it is currently only available to women aged 18 and over who are living in Scotland

However, we know that some men also experience stalking. Support is available to men through Victim Support Service.

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