Stalking Awareness Week 25 April to 28 of April and highlights the dangers of domestic stalking, stalking carried out by a current, ex-partner or a family member.
A spokesperson from the charity, Carmel Offord, said:
When people think of stalking, they may imagine a shadowy stranger hiding around the corner, but stalking is often carried out by people known to us and takes many different forms, including internet connected devices such as smart doorbells, speakers and apps on our phones.
Stalking is defined as a pattern of unwanted, fixated, obsessive behaviour which is intrusive. It can include harassment that amounts to stalking or stalking that causes fear of violence or serious alarm or distress.
Both offences come under the Protection from Harassment Act 1997 which was amended in 2012 to include stalking under the Personal Freedoms Act.
Suky Bhaker, CEO of Suzy Lamplugh Trust, said:
We know that stalking victims greatly benefit from the support offered by specialist advocates. Yet those responsible for handling victims’ reports are not referring them to stalking services. There is a huge gap between victims and support services, and it is simply unacceptable. Police and frontline services must signpost victims to specialist services if we are to truly bridge this gap.
We are also calling for dedicated specialist funding for Independent Stalking Advocates that is
separate from domestic violence funding and enables advocacy support for all victims of stalking.
Half of all stalking victims are not ex-intimates and therefore would not be eligible for domestic abuse support. It is evident that stalking advocates provide life-changing services to victims. There is no doubt that every victim should have the right to a stalking advocate.
Stalking and harassment may be carried out by someone unknown to you or by a partner or ex-partner. The behaviour may involve any or all the following:
- following you
- sending you lots of messages or calling you repeatedly
- turning up wherever you are and hanging around
- damaging or interfering with your property
- watching, monitoring, or spying on you
- giving you unwanted gifts
- making threats or intimidating you
The charity supports thousands of people impacted by domestic abuse, receiving over 20,000 referrals each year.
Stalking behaviours are often reported in the 12 months prior to domestic homicides, murders carried out by a current or ex-partner, and are an indicator that the perpetrator poses a significant risk. IDAS are running the two training sessions to raise awareness of the dangers of stalking and equip people with the knowledge and skills to effectively respond to a disclosure.
Carmel Offord said:
Stalking is a high-risk behaviour, but many people don’t join the dots or take it seriously when someone discloses to them. For people subjected to stalking it can be a terrifying ordeal even though each incident, in isolation, may seem minor to someone outside the situation. It is vital that we take stalking seriously.
Our training helps professionals to respond effectively to people being subjected to this behaviour.
The training sessions are being run online on 25th & 28th of April and bookings can be made on the IDAS dedicated courses and training website.
National multi-agency training – IDAS Online Training Courses https://courses.idas.org.uk/national-multi-agency-training/
Over 700,000 women experience stalking each year according to the Crime Survey of England and Wales.
Carmel Offord said:
Many people who experience stalking find that keeping a diary or a log in a safe place can help to make sense of what is happening. It can also be useful if you report to the Police. However small something may seem, trust your instincts, and seek support to help keep you safe.
If you have concerns to contact the Police or a specialist charity. Specialist charities such as IDAS and the National Stalking Helpline (0808 802 0300), run by Suzy Lamplugh Trust can help. IDAS is also able to offer advice and support if you are experiencing stalking from a current or ex-partner.
Apps such as Bright Sky and Hollie Guard may also me of assistance.
The IDAS helpline is 03000 110 110 and they also have a Live Chat which is available on the website Monday-Friday 3 pm – 6 pm www.idas.org.uk