Stalking in Cyprus is now a criminal offence
Harassment and stalking are criminalized for the first time in Cyprus, through the adoption of a specific legislation, namely the “Protection from Harassment and Stalking Law of 2021 (Law 114(Ι)/2021)“.
This article will briefly discuss regarding the concept of stalking and the behaviors that accompany the commission of the offence, behaviours which we knew existed, but until now there was no specific national legislation to address it.
Although the term “stalking” is relatively new in the legal dictionary, the conduct itself is not new to the human experience. ‘The conduct generally associated with stalking-following, spying, unwanted calling/writing, accosting, harassing, and threatening,is as old as the history of human relationships’. 
Criminal justice as well as victim service professionals always had to face such behavior, however only began to address it as a separate issue when the conduct was distinguished as a unique phenomenon, deserving its own definition.
The process of distinguishing stalking from any other atypical social or criminal behavior reached a defining moment in 1990 when the state of California passed the first statute that constituted stalking a crime. 
Traditionally, the prevailing perception of stalking was that stalking involved some kind of dark, malicious character who was following and/or spying an unsuspicious person.
However the above stereotypical perception does not entail all the behaviors attributed to persons with a behavior constituting stalking. Particularly, whilst such persons, may indeed be spying on and following the victims but they are just as likely to use a variety of other means / methods to monitor the activities of their victims. Such methods include binoculars, telescopes, internet, public records, cameras, etc. to follow their victims systematically. 
It should also be made clear that stalking has, at many times, less to do with the surveillance of victims than with the contact with them, hence such persons, pose a risk to the safety of victims. ‘Stalkers, by their very nature, want more. They want contact. They want a relationship with their victims. They want to be part of their victims’ lives. And, if they cannot be a positive part of their victims’ lives, they will settle for a negative connection to their victims’ 
According to an American research, the frequency of stalking of women is higher than men, i.e. nearly 1 in 6 women as oppose to 1 in 17 men have experienced stalking victimization at some point in their lifetime.  Ιn Cyprus such research has not been carried out yet.
Who can be considered as a stalker;
Stalking can be perpetrated by anyone, towards anyone (i.e., ex-partners, acquaintances, strangers and celebrities).
Lets talk statistics
According to the most comprehensive survey to date at the level of the EU (and worldwide) on women’s diverse experiences of violence of 2014:
⚫one in five women (20 %) in the 18–29 age group has been the subject of stalking since she was 15 years old∙
⚫about three in four victims of stalking (77 %) say that they talked about the most serious case with friends or relatives∙
⚫one in 10 women (9 %) has been stalked by her previous partner;
⚫11 % of women have received unwanted, offensive sexually explicit emails or SMS messages, or offensive, inappropriate advances on social networking
sites (referring to experiences since the age of 15)∙
⚫one in five women who has experienced stalking indicates that it lasted for more than two years∙
⚫one in five victims of stalking (23 %) has had to change her phone number or email address as a result of the most serious incident of stalking∙
⚫11% of women in Cyprus have experience have experience stalking since the age of 12 (έρευνα του 2014).
In the UK according to the findings of the Crime Survey for England and Wales, the frequency of stalking between adults aged 16 – 74 for the year March 2017 to March 2018 was increased from 3.588 to 25.254 adults for the year March 2019 – March 2020. 
Lockdown due to Covid-19 has been identified as a key factor to the recent increase of stalking in the UK. In London alone, the Police noted an increase of over 300% in police reports of stalking during the Covid-19 pandemic. 
Stalking commenced in the name of ‘love’ was and still is depicted by social media and pop culture as a romantic gesture / behavior (see You (Netflix)]. This of course is a matter worth having its own discussion in the future.
 2000. National Victim Assistance Academy, Anne Seymour, Morna Murray, Jane Sigmon, Melissa Hook, Christine Edmunds, Mario Gaboury, and Grace Coleman at https://www.ncjrs.gov/ovc_archives/academy/chap22-2.htm
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