Suzy Lamplugh Trust, which runs the National Stalking Helpline, has today announced that it has secured funding from the Police Transformation Fund, via the Mayor's Office for Policing And Crime (MOPAC), for a pioneering project working with perpetrators of stalking.

The initiative, which is the first of its kind worldwide, will aim to improve responses to stalking across the criminal justice system and the health sector through rehabilitative treatment for stalkers. Ultimately, it is hoped that working with perpetrators can help to make victims of stalking safer.

Stalking is a devastating crime which is characterised by obsession and fixation, and commonly causes prolonged suffering for victims. On average, stalking lasts for six months to two years, with around a third of all cases involving physical violence. Recent research has found that 55% of stalking perpetrators go on to reoffend, and 36% have a previous conviction for harassment. However, the complex psychological issues associated with the crime often fail to be addressed within current criminal justice solutions.

By contrast, the new intervention programmes will aim to gain a better understanding of any mental health problems associated with stalking. The countrywide pilots intend to use an integrated, multi-agency approach. The initiative will assess risk, gain understanding of psychological drivers, and encourage cessation and desistance of stalking behaviours.

The project will see the UK’s leading personal safety and stalking charity, Suzy Lamplugh Trust, develop and test perpetrator interventions in conjunction with partners including Cheshire Constabulary, Hampshire Constabulary, the Metropolitan Police Service, Barnet, Enfield and Haringey Mental Health Trust, Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust, and North West Boroughs Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust.

Chief Executive of Suzy Lamplugh Trust, Rachel Griffin, said:

“We’re delighted to be awarded this grant by the Police Transformation Fund via MOPAC. This funding will allow us to work in partnership with criminal justice and health professionals across the country to develop intervention programmes for perpetrators of stalking.

At Suzy Lamplugh Trust, we are committed to protecting victims of stalking and, by working with perpetrators, we hope to reduce reoffending. Stalking is a crime of obsession which can have devastating and grave consequences for victims. This project aims to break the cycle of obsession, fixation and harm.

Studies have shown that early intervention in stalking cases can reduce the risk to victims, and that concerning behaviours are more likely to be prevented from escalating if they are recognised quickly. A continued, specialist focus on preventing harm and changing behaviour is necessary to keep stalking victims safe.

It’s fantastic to be at the forefront of this ground-breaking piece of work; our hope is that we can reduce the impact that stalking has on victims.”

Sarah Newton, Minister for Crime, Safeguarding and Vulnerability said:

“I am pleased the Suzy Lamplugh Trust is taking forward this important work with the support of the Police Transformation Fund, which will help build our understanding of how best to address stalking behaviours.

Stalking and harassment are devastating crimes which cause great distress to victims. That is why we have strengthened the law and are taking steps to introduce a new civil stalking protection order to protect victims at the earliest possible stage. Five years ago this Government created specific stalking offences to ensure those responsible face justice, and through the Policing and Crime Act 2017 the maximum sentences for both stalking and harassment were raised from 5 to 10 years.

We encourage police forces to continue their efforts to protect victims and pursue offenders.”