By Jo Walker In Suzy Lamplugh Trust News
Suzy Lamplugh Trust is working with the Network for Surviving Stalking and Protection Against Stalking to set up the first dedicated helpline for stalking victims in the UK. This will be funded by the Home Office and the Zochonis Trust.
Stalking is a serious crime that can devastate lives. It can also lead to violence against the victim – including rape and murder. It’s vital that anyone who thinks they’re being stalked takes it seriously and gets specialist advice and support.
Recent research indicates that stalking affects around 1.5 million people in the UK every year and it’s on the increase.
A 2009 Survey of stalking victims carried out by Chartered Forensic Psychologist Dr Lorraine Sheridan, in conjunction with Network for Surviving Stalking, found that 77% of victims surveyed only reported the situation after 100 incidents had taken place.
Stalking can have huge side effects on a victim – depression, agoraphobia, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder are just some of the problems stalking victims can experience.
Advice for anyone who thinks they’re being stalked:
– Do not engage with your stalker. Try to show no emotion. Do not confront or agree to meet with them. If you do come into contact, aim to get away ideally to a busy place.
– Contact the local police. Keep a note of the name of the Officer in charge of the case and the crime reference number if applicable.
– Keep a diary with as much detail as possible. Record the details of anything suspicious – telephone calls, sightings, vehicles, mail, texts and emails. Note down dates, times, places, descriptions of clothing etc. Describe what emotional effect the stalking is having on you. The diary may assist the police in their investigation by providing valuable evidence. To make sure this record can be used at any later Court hearing, it must be ‘recorded contemporaneously’ that means write it down immediately while it is still fresh in your mind.
– Keep any evidence. Texts, emails, letters or parcels are all valuable. If you have a camera or video camera, record anything that could be useful evidence of what is happening.
The Helpline will be available at the end of April but if you need to talk to someone in the meantime please ring Suzy Lamplugh Trust on 0207 091 0014 and ask for Extension One.