Baby Reindeer: Netflix’s new show considering the nature and impact of stalking

“Baby Reindeer” is one of the most popular shows Netflix has to offer right now. Based on the creator, Richard Gadd’s, real life experiences, we are taken on a dark journey that explores the harrowing impact that stalking, harassment and sexual abuse has on its victims. Here, McAlister Family Law’s Nicola Bradley looks at how the law protects those being stalked.

Stalking involves a repeated pattern of obsessive behaviour that causes the victim to feel alarmed or distressed and possibly in fear for their personal safety. You can be stalked by someone you know very well, for example a family member or someone you have had an intimate relationship with, or by a total stranger whom you have never met or spoken to before.

Stalking is an insidious crime that often makes victims feel very frightened and anxious. Whilst the behaviour of stalkers varies from case to case, the repetitive nature of their unwanted attention is the common link flowing through their victim’s narratives. Whilst some stalkers may shower their victims with constant emails, texts and calls professing how much they love and admire them, be in no doubt that stalking has nothing to do with love. It is about power and control.

Any boundaries that you attempt to put in place with a stalker will be violated. Stalkers do not see their victims as individuals in their own right, they see them as possessions and objects that they have exclusive rights to.

A stalker will also engage in other abusive behaviours as their fixation intensifies. Their behaviour can escalate from a bombardment of messages, to turning up at your home or place of work, threatening your life of the lives of those you love and ultimately, they could become physically and\or sexually violent.

Similar to a cat toying with a mouse, stalkers thrive off instilling a sense of fear in their victims because it makes them feel powerful, untouchable and omnipotent. For the stalker, any attention or validation from the object of their fixation is enough to feed them and fuel the obsession further.

Victims of stalking are protected under the Protection from Harassment Act 1997 which makes this behaviour a criminal offence that can ultimately carry a prison sentence. If the stalker is someone close to you such as a family member or an ex-partner, you can apply for a Non-Molestation Order which will prevent the stalker from being able to contact you or even prevent them from coming within a certain distance of you and/or your home.

To assist victims in identifying whether the behaviour they are experiencing maybe categorised as stalking, the police have set out the following four warning signs:






It is very important to document any and all evidence you have of the stalkers behaviour within a chronology as this may assist the police in taking action against them.

If at any stage you feel as through your personal safety of those of others is at immediate risk, you must call 999 immediately and secure your safety and\or those of others. Victims of this crime should not attempt to reason with, excuse or rationalise the stalker’s behaviour, they are often unpredictable and have little to no control over their actions and obsessive nature.

If you need advice on this topic, or any other matters concerning divorce or family law, please get in touch with our team at McAlister Family Law.


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