225 thousand victims of stalking in the Netherlands in 2023

© Hollandse Hoogte
Two percent of Dutch people aged 15 or older were victims of stalking in 2023: 137 thousand females and 90 thousand males. Male victims of stalking are more likely to report that they do not know their stalker(s) than female victims. Men are also less likely to tell others in their social network about the problem, or to report it to the authorities, such as the police. This is according to new figures from Statistics Netherlands (CBS).

Stalking is defined as following somebody over an extended period of time. This can happen either online or offline, and can involve constantly spying on the victim, harassing them or sending them unwanted emails or messages. The victims of stalking were about equally as likely to report that it had occurred online as in real life. For example, 38 percent of cases involved online stalking only, 40 percent involved in-person stalking only, and 15 percent were a combination of both.

Young women particularly likely to be stalked

Male victims of stalking were found across all age groups, while female victims were predominantly younger. For example, 3 percent of women aged between 15 and 24 reported being stalked in the previous year. Among women aged between 25 and 44 the number was 2 percent. The older women are, the less likely they are to be a victim of stalking. There are no figures on victims whose gender is X because there is too little data available on this group in the survey.

Victims of stalking, 2023
leeftijdMen (%)Women (%)
15-24 years1.02.8
25-44 years1.42.3
45-64 years1.31.6
65 years and older1.00.8

Women were more likely than men to say they knew their stalker(s) (66 percent compared to 48 percent). Men were more likely not to know the gender of their stalker(s), while women were predominantly stalked by men. In a relatively high number of cases, this was a partner or ex-partner (22 percent of female victims, compared to 11 percent of male victims). Among male victims, the perpetrator was relatively often somebody living nearby or some other acquaintance (13 percent and 12 percent of cases, respectively).

Relationship between stalker and victim, 2023 1)
categorieMen (%)Women (%)
Stalker not known to victim52.233.7
Stalker known to victim47.866.3
Partner or ex-partner10.522.3
Family member3.24.5
Person living locally13.214.2
Colleague or manager2.02.2
Fellow student or teacher0.82.2
Known through sport or hobby0.51.4
Care provider0.20
Source: CBS, Safety Monito 2023
1)Several answers possible

Women more likely to experience emotional problems due to stalking

A total of 74 percent of victims in 2023 reported at least one emotional or psychological problem as a result of stalking. Among women the share was 77 percent, and among men it was 69 percent. Women were more likely than men to report feeling less safe (55 percent versus 38 percent), disturbed sleep (28 percent versus 20 percent) and anxiety (29 percent versus 14 percent).

Emotional or psychological consequences of stalking, 2023 1)
GevolgenMen (%)Women (%)
Less trust in people41.546.3
Feel less safe37.755.3
Disturbed sleep19.628.1
None of these30.623.3
1)More than one answer possible

Male victims less likely to report stalking

About 2 in 3 victims mentioned the fact that they were being stalked within their own social network, such as to family or friends, or to the authorities such as the police or a safe house. Men were less likely to do this than women (56 percent versus 74 percent). This male-female disparity was also evident in the numbers reporting the stalking both to their own social network and to the authorities.

Who victims told about stalking problem, 2023 1)
melding gedaan aanMen (%)Women (%)
Family or friends34.055.7
Safe House1.76.5
1) More than one answer possible

Almost all victims who go to the police also file an official report of the crime with the police. An official police report was filed by 22 percent of victims. There was no difference between male and female victims in this respect.

The reasons why victims did not officially report the incident were also largely the same among men and women. Most indicated that they did not file an official report because they did not believe it would help (33 percent) or because they had not thought about it or did not think it was that important (23 percent). Women are more likely than men to say that they did not file an official report because they were concerned about a nasty response from the stalker or revenge (17 percent versus 9 percent) or because the matter had already been resolved (14 percent versus 7 percent).