Someone is repeatedly contacting me
Last updated: 11 July 2021
This guide covers situations where someone is repeatedly contacting you in an annoying or upsetting way.
This contact might involve messages, calls, emails, or social media posts, and may involve unwanted sexual advances, questions or images.
If you feel like you are being tracked or monitored, see our guide I’m being stalked online
If you are below 16 years old
Let a trusted adult know what is going on.
If you are starting to feel uncomfortable or unsafe, let a trusted adult know what is happening. This can be your parents, a school teacher, or a school counsellor. They can help you decide what to do.
Remember that this is not your fault, even if it feels embarrassing.
Look out for red flags
- Have they been very friendly, given you many compliments, or offered to buy you things? People who want to hurt you may make nice promises, offer to buy you things, or give you compliments about being mature, smart or attractive – all to gain your trust. They may also ask you questions about your life to assess how vulnerable you are. To be fair, people who genuinely want to be friends with you may do all these as well. But if this is happening with the other points in this list, then this is a red flag.
- Have they asked you to keep your relationship with them a secret? This is a pretty big red flag. It is likely that they want you to keep your relationship with them a secret because they are doing something that can harm you and they don’t want to be caught.
- Have they made many comments about your body or appearance? Trustworthy older teenagers and adults know that it is not appropriate to keep commenting on the body or appearance of someone younger than them. If the person you’re talking to has started doing this, they could be trying to gain your trust and test your boundaries. After a while, these comments might become increasingly explicit and sexual.
- Have they asked you questions that feel wrong or uncomfortable? Such questions can be “have you kissed someone” or “do you want to know how [something] feels like”. They might also say that they can teach you something that will make you feel good. These are wrong. They are red flags! A trustworthy older teenager or adult would know that they should never be asking a young person about these things.
- Have they been asking to meet up? If the other person has been asking to meet up with you, inform an adult immediately. Do not meet up with them. It is not safe. The other person may take the opportunity to harm you physically if you meet up with them.
If the questions above resemble your conversation with the other person, you might be in danger. Speaking to an adult, like a teacher, parent, or family friend, will help keep you safe.
The above material was adapted with permission from the Australian Government eSafety Commissioner. Permission to adapt content does not constitute endorsement of material by the eSafety Commissioner.
Most of this guide is still applicable for you, but don’t deal with this alone. Please find someone to support you.
What to do now?
Record what happened
Start collecting evidence (e.g. take photos, screenshots, recordings) and keeping notes of what happened. Do this before you do anything else.
Email these notes and the evidence to yourself or someone you trust. This adds a timestamp, which can help you to keep track of what happened.
Keeping records is important because small actions that feel minor in the moment can build up over time to a point you’re not comfortable with. The person contacting you might also try to convince you that things aren’t as bad as you think. It will be useful to have your own records to look back at. If the situation escalates further, these records with their timestamps will also be useful to the police or courts.
Remember to also keep yourself safe. Please do not put yourself in danger for the sake of collecting more evidence. Your safety is your number one priority.
Reach out to people you trust if you need help and support.
Block and report
Block the user who is contacting you – if it is safe for you to do so and only after you have collected evidence. Blocking limits their ability to pressure you, harass you, and access additional information about you.
If you are worried that this person will create new accounts to evade your blocking or find you on different platforms, you may want to change your privacy settings or contact details. See our guides below to Identifying what information about you exists online and Limiting unwanted contact
What to do next?
Below, we’ve listed further actions you can take. These are all optional – it is up to you to decide what you would like to do.
Identify the information that others can find about you online.
Our guide to identifying information walks you through assessing how much information is available about you online and how this information links together (i.e. if this person knows your full name, this might connect them to your Facebook, etc.).
Limit unwanted contact
Once you have identified what information about you is accessible online, remove any info you no longer want to share. Also secure your accounts and adjust your privacy settings to minimise unwanted contact.
Our guide to limiting unwanted contact includes specific instructions for adjusting your online privacy settings, securing your online accounts, and other measures for minimising the risk of unwanted contact and harassment. The steps here are useful if you think it is likely that this person would try to find other ways to contact you after you’ve blocked them.
If you think that this person would try to hack your accounts, go directly to our guide to Securing online accounts
Apply for a Protection Order
You may be able to apply for a Protection Order against the other person.
Harassment and unlawful stalking are offences under the Protection from Harassment Act (POHA) . A Protection Order would require the other person to stop contacting you.
What counts as harassment?
Under POHA, harassment comprises conduct that is threatening, abusive, or insulting and would be likely to cause you harassment, alarm, or distress.
What counts as unlawful stalking?
The stalking behaviours have to be continued over an extended period and/or repeated, and be likely to cause you harassment, alarm, or distress.
POHA lists these examples of stalking behaviours, but you don’t have to fit these exactly:
- Following you or a related person
- Communicating or trying to communicate with you or a related person by any means
- Making any communication (or trying to) about you or a related person; or purporting to be from you or a related person
- Entering or loitering in any place outside or near your or a related person’s home, workplace, or anyplace you frequent
- Interfering with your or a related person’s property
- Giving or sending material to you or a related person, or leaving it where you or a related person will find it
- Keeping you or a related person under surveillance
- Illustrative examples from POHA:
- Your workplace superior repeatedly emailing you with suggestive comments about your body
- Someone sending you flowers daily even though you’ve told them to stop
- Your classmate repeatedly circulating revealing photos of you to other classmates
Our guide to applying for a Protection Order under POHA provides further information on POHA and the application process.
If you are unsure of your legal rights, you may wish to seek legal advice: Find legal support
If you want to report someone to the police so that the police may conduct investigations, you may wish to make a police report instead.
Take care of yourself
Overtime, repeated contact become stressful, scary and frustrating. Please let your close friend or anyone you trust know what happened. Ask them to support you and help with any actions you decide to take.
If you don’t know who to turn to, or feel like you cannot act without endangering your safety, you can find help at the following places:
- Call 1800-777-0000 for the National Anti-Violence Helpline – dedicated 24-hour helpline for reporting violence and abuse, open to all genders and ages
- If this is happening in an intimate/sexual relationship, call AWARE’s Sexual Assault Care Centre Helpline (6779-0282, Mon - Fri, 10am - 6pm) to speak with a trained volunteer who can help you decide what to do.
- If you are being repeatedly contacted by a family member, approach a Family Service Centre or PAVE Integrated Services for Individual and Family Protection (6555-0390, Mon - Fri, 9am - 1pm / 2pm - 6pm).
You can also refer to our directory Finding Support in Singapore to find a hotline, legal clinic, mental healthcare provider, or other social service that best fits your needs.
Should I stay in contact with this person to try and convince them to stop?
Probably not. You should clearly tell them to stop contacting you, but you don’t have to get them to agree in order for you to cut off contact. After you’ve initially asked them to stop contacting you, it is typically safer to stop responding, especially if they are trying to pressure you into meeting them or sending them anything.
If they are making promises (I’ll stop messaging you if you…) or threats, continuing to reply is likely to be taken by them as a sign these tactics are working. Remember that you do not owe anyone a response (from Stalking Safety Planning - The Hotline )