What does it mean to be a stalker?

A stalker threatens, follows, monitors or harasses another person in some way. A stalker harasses others in order to control and threaten.


The Icelandic term for stalking is “umsáturseinelti,” while the word for stalker is “eltihrellir.” Stalking is when someone harasses you repeatedly with unwanted attention or communication. The behaviour is often incessant, does not stop even if you request it, and can make you feel as if you can’t escape it.

Examples of stalking are:

  • Repeated emails or messages on social media.
  • Repeated phone calls.
  • The person follows you to and from home or work.
  • Notes left at your home or work or in your car.
  • Unsolicited flowers or gifts are sent to your home.
  • Social media is used to monitor you, harass you or threaten you, or to disturb you with unwanted behaviour.
  • Devices such as GPS or AirTags are used to monitor where you are.
  • The person shows up to your home, work or school uninvited.
  • The person shows up to the same places as you when there is no reason for them to be there.

The behaviour is sometimes nice at first but becomes more aggressive and even violent over time. Sometimes stalking is part of abuse in an intimate relationship. Like other types of violence, stalking is about control. It creates insecurity and frightens you so that you change your routine and behaviour.

Who can be a stalker?

Stalkers can be strangers or people you barely know. They are also often someone that you know well, for example:

  • Romantic partners.
  • Ex-partners.
  • Caregivers.
  • Parents, guardians or other family members.
  • Adult children.
  • Other people who you live with or see often.

Get help

No one has the right to threaten you or control you using unwelcome attention. If you or someone you know is being stalked you can get help at Bjarkarhlíð in Reykjavík, Bjarmahlíð in Akureyri or Sigurhæðir in Selfoss.

Do you recognize abuse?

See more stories


Bylgja just moved out from her family home into a small but very cosy apartment close to the university. At first, she finds the landlord friendly and helpful but when he starts knocking on her door several times a week to check on something apartment-related, it quickly becomes intrusive. She asks him to not come by without notice but he does it anyway. He also calls her sometimes just to chat. She does not want to pick up but is afraid that the call might be about something related to the apartment.

One evening, she thinks she sees the landlord across the street, sitting in his car and smoking. When she sees him outside of her school she does not dare to go home and goes to her friend’s place instead

Is this abuse? Pick your answer:


Bjarkarhlíð is a center for people who have experienced abuse. There you get all the support and counseling you need in one place. All assistance is on your terms.

Bjarmahlíð in Akureyri

Bjarmahlíð is a center for people who have experienced abuse. There you get all the support and counseling you need in one place. All assistance is on your terms.

Sigurhæðir in Selfoss

Sigurhæðir is a service for victims of gender-based violence in South Iceland. There you receive coordinated counsel, support and therapy on your terms.


When an older person uses deceit or gifts to groom a teenager or a vulnerable person to perform sexual acts, it is called grooming. Grooming is abuse and is illegal.

Religious abuse

When someone uses a spiritual practice or religion to frighten you, hurt you or control you, it is called religious abuse.