National Stalking Awareness Day - Wednesday 18th April 2012
Lincolnshire Police is today joining forces with police and charities from across the country to launch the national Stalking and Harassment Day, which aims to put a stop to stalking.
It's two years since the launch of the National Stalking Helpline, and the charities who run it - Suzy Lamplugh Trust, Protection Against Stalking and Network for Surviving Stalking and the National Cyberstalking Research Centre - have shown that although an individual is more likely to become a victim of stalking than any other kind of inter-personal violence, the crime is not being taken seriously enough.
Statistics show that 1 in 5 women and 1 in 10 men will be stalked at some point in their lives and the National Stalking Helpline service is receiving more calls than ever before from people reporting obsessive, unwanted behaviour that is blighting their lives. Yet many people still do not understand the seriousness of the crime. Victims who have contacted the National Stalking Helpline often tell how they felt unable to seek help early on because of a fear of being laughed at or dismissed.
Kristiana Wrixon from the National Stalking Helpline says, "It is important that people are aware of how sinister and prevalent a crime stalking is. 30 years ago the majority of people did not understand how extreme the problem of domestic abuse was but thankfully these attitudes have improved. We want to see the same improvement with stalking, or lives will continue to be lost."
Home Secretary Theresa May says, "Stalking is an abhorrent crime that can devastate people's lives. We are taking urgent action to make stalking a specific offence. We want to make sure that justice is done, that we protect victims and show beyond doubt that stalking is a crime.
"We are also giving the police new powers of entry to investigate stalking offences and looking at better training and guidance for the police and prosecutors to ensure victims get the protection they deserve."
Online communication has meant that stalkers have more tools in their arsenal than ever before and it is important that online stalking is taken as seriously as other forms of stalking. Professor Carsten Maple from the National Centre for Cyberstalking Research says, "We now live a larger part of our lives online, both personally and professionally and this has meant that harassment online has a more significant impact than ever before. It is vital, given the prevalence of cyberstalking, that we raise awareness and education of the issue, how victims can report the crime and access support and assist the authorities to investigate the matter."
ACPO lead on stalking Assistant Chief Constable Garry Shewan said, "The police service has worked hard to raise the profile and understanding of stalking and harassment and extensive effort has gone into improving training, guidance and our overall response. The service absolutely recognises the seriousness of stalking."
Lincolnshire Police have undertaken a number of activities in relation to dealing with Stalking and Harassment
Worked to increase awareness amongst officers and staff
o Screensaver in place for 2 weeks leading up to the 18th April
o E Bulletin designed that includes all the latest national and local action on this issue - circulated to all staff and officers across the force
Worked in conjunction with partner agencies:
o The E Bulletin was also circulated to a range of partner agencies via the Domestic Abuse Strategic Management Board and its various sub groups. This is aimed to increase awareness within other agencies as well as the police force.
Latest information provided to officers responding to reports of stalking and harassment within the Neighbourhood Policing Teams
o National Stalking Awareness Day posters
o National Stalking Helpline posters
o National Stalking Helpline leaflets
o Force STOP Harassment Booklet
o Put a STOP to Stalking poster and cards
The Force Policy on responding to reports of stalking and harassment was updated in August 2011. Lincolnshire Police waits national changes to legislation on stalking to update it further. The e learning module for all operational officers and staff is also in place and the force Single Point of Contact Detective Inspector Sean Baxter maintains the link between the National Stalking Helpline and the force.
Protect Yourself Against Stalking
If you feel in immediate danger at any time always call 999. If you are frightened, but not in immediate danger contact Lincolnshire Police on 101. Police will arrange a convenient time to meet you and take relevant details in order to give more specific safety advice to you. An officer will sit with you and discuss all the things that have been happening to you. It is important that you tell the officer everything that has happened, even if you think it may sound trivial or contact the National Stalking Helpline 0808 802 0300.
Other information can be found on the following websites:
The force's website contains a range of information for those experiencing, or know of someone i.e. a family member or friend, who is experiencing stalking or harassment.
You can access the latest information on the following website link:
National Stalking Helpline: http://www.stalkinghelpline.org
Protection Against Stalking Website: http://www.protectionagainststalking.org/
Suzy Lamplugh Trust website: http://www.suzylamplugh.org/
Network for Surviving Stalking: http://www.nss.org.uk/