A UK Home Office research study on the use of the Protection from Harassment Act stated: "The study found that the Protection from Harassment Act is being used to deal with a variety of behaviour such as domestic and inter-neighbour disputes.It is rarely used for stalking as portrayed by the media since only a small minority of cases in the survey involved such behaviour." According to Lamber Royakkers: "Stalking is a form of mental assault, in which the perpetrator repeatedly, unwantedly, and disruptively breaks into the life-world of the victim, with whom they have no relationship (or no longer have).

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Stalking is unwanted or obsessive attention by an individual or group towards another person.

Stalking behaviors are related to harassment and intimidation and may include following the victim in person or monitoring them. National Center for Victims of Crime, "virtually any unwanted contact between two people that directly or indirectly communicates a threat or places the victim in fear can be considered stalking", Having been used since at least the 16th century to refer to a prowler or a poacher (Oxford English Dictionary), the term stalker began to be used by the media in the 20th century to describe people who pester and harass others, initially with specific reference to the harassment of celebrities by strangers who were described as being "obsessed".

Although stalking is illegal in most areas of the world, some of the actions that can contribute to stalking can be legal, such as gathering information, calling someone on the phone, sending gifts, emailing or instant messaging.

They become illegal when they breach the legal definition of harassment e.g.

While the vengeance stalker's motive is "to get even" with the other person whom he/she perceives has done some wrong to them (e.g., an employee who believes is fired without justification from their job by their superior), the political stalker intends to accomplish a political agenda, also using threats and intimidation to force his/her target to refrain and/or become involved in some particular activity, regardless of the victim's consent.

For example, most prosecutions in this stalking category have been against anti-abortionists who stalk doctors in an attempt to discourage the performance of abortions. Intimacy-seeking stalkers often have delusional disorders involving erotomanic delusions.

43% of male stalking victims stated that the offender was female, while 41% of male victims stated that the offender was another male.

Female victims of stalking were significantly more likely to be stalked by a male (67%) rather than a female (24%) offender." This report provides considerable data by gender and race about both stalking and harassment.

The 2002 National Victim Association Academy defines an additional form of stalking: The vengeance/terrorist stalker.

Both the vengeance stalker and terrorist stalker (the latter sometimes called the political stalker) do not, in contrast with some of the aforementioned types of stalkers, seek a personal relationship with their victims but rather force them to emit a certain response.

an action such as sending a text is not usually illegal, but is illegal when frequently repeated to an unwilling recipient.