Domestic Abuse

Domestic Abuse

Stalking, domestic abuse and the workplace

Stalking is persistent and unwanted behaviour which causes or has the intention to cause fear or alarm. It is a form of surveillance underpinned by the communication of that surveillance.

Stalking is a common tactic used by perpetrators of domestic abuse, but can also be perpetrated by colleagues, neighbours, friends, acquaintances and strangers. The emotional and psychological impact of stalking can result in increasing fear, stress and anxiety, and loss of safety or trust. Victim-survivors of stalking worry that it will impact their job because of unexplained or frequent absences to avoid their stalker.

Stalking can have a significant impact on the workplace because stalkers are able to pinpoint the location of their victim when they are at work. Because of this, victim-survivors may turn up late or want to leave early. For example, some women may want to leave work before it is dark, so it is still light out when they get home which makes them feel safer.

Tactics used by stalkers to disrupt women’s employment can include:

  • Preventing them from attending work by tampering with their car;
  • Using workplace resources such as phones and email to threaten, harass and abuse employees;
  • Watching or spying on them, or forcing contact with them through any means, including social media;
  • Following victims to and from work;
  • Sending unwanted gifts or flowers to their work; and
  • Targeting their colleagues.

Many women who experience domestic abuse will also be stalked by the same partner or ex-partner. It is therefore good practice to include information about stalking in your domestic abuse policy.

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