Victims of stalking and harassment in Cambridgeshire are set to get an enhanced offer of support following an innovative partnership between Police and Crime Commissioner, Jason Ablewhite and Suzy Lamplugh Trust.

The move will see our National Stalking Helpline service work with Cambridgeshire Police to provide specialist training for a new post holder in Cambridgeshire’s Victim and Witness Hub who will provide dedicated support to victims of stalking and harassment.

The new support worker, known as an Independent Domestic Violence Advocate(IDVA) will get hands on experience working alongside staff at the National Stalking Helpline before providing the service locally. The knowledge and experience they gain will enable them to better support and keep safe any Cambridgeshire victims seeking emotional and practical support.  

The initiative will also help officers and staff understand the complexities of stalking and harassment, the experience of a victim and how to address risk and create effective safety planning. This will be delivered through a series of events for officers and local victim support service providers.

Under the Protection from Harassment Act 1997, stalking and harassment is both a criminal offence and a civil action. It is illegal for a person to pursue a course of conduct which they know, or ought to know amounts to stalking. A course of conduct means two or more incidents which cause alarm, distress or fear of violence.

Our National Stalking Helpline service receives calls nationwide from victims of stalking and harassment. To date, the National Stalking Helpline has responded to over 23,000 calls and emails. Through advice and advocacy, our stalking specialists make a real difference to the lives of victims and we are excited to work in partnership with Cambridgeshire police to spread the knowledge.

Police and Crime Commissioner Jason Ablewhite has spoken about our partnership, saying, “Stalking is a very serious problem which can have a devastating effect on victims. Long term effects can include depression, anxiety, sleep disturbance, paranoia and post-traumatic stress disorder. By working in partnership with the national experts in stalking and harassment, I can ensure that support is in place for local victims when and where they need it. Any learning gathered from this will be shared with colleagues involved in providing relevant support services.”

Rachel Griffin, Chief Executive of the Suzy Lamplugh Trust said “The collaboration between our charity and the Police and Crime Commissioner is an exciting development that going forward will enable victims to receive improved support from police. It is encouraging that the Constabulary see the invaluable insight that our service can deliver to improve police response to stalking and harassment. We hope that more police forces follow their lead and work with us.”