For National Stalking Awareness Week 2020 (20th - 24th April), the Suzy Lamplugh Trust is highlighting the urgent need to See Stalking Clearly and to ensure stalking victims are still visible and supported throughout the response to Covid-19 The fixation and obsession which characterises stalking will not stop as a result of the Covid-19 restrictions or social distancing and the risk of harm to victims remains as signigicant as ever.

Approximately 1.5 million people in England and Wales will be a victim of stalking every year. Based on these numbers, it is vital that early warning signs aren't ignored and victims feel able to ask for help at an early stage before risk escalates. Cases such as Alice Ruggles and Shana Grice, who were killed by their stalkers, reminds us of the devastating consequences that stalking can have.

Calls to the National Stalking Helpline since the lockdown indicate that victims are still being stalked despite lockdown, particularly through online methods and social media. The impact this can have on the victim is huge, particularly in terms of their mental wellbeing. It infiltrates all aspects of a victim's life which can be immensely traumatic. In addition, the lockdown response means that stalkers are now able to almost guarantee where their victim will be for most of the time. One caller to the National Stalking Helpline described feeling like a 'sitting duck' in the current circumstances. It is therefore imperative to ensure that victims are empowered to call the police and receive help if they feel at risk in any way.

The Suzy Lamplugh Trust is calling on the Government to ensure that victims of stalking are recognised during these unprecedented times. Support and protection for victims remains as essential as ever, despite the difficult circumstances for all services affected by the response to Covid-19. Stalking must be prioritised as the devastating crime it is. Now more than ever it is so important that we See Stalking Clearly.

Suky Bhaker, CEO of the Suzy Lamplugh Trust said, "Stalking is a crime of psychological terror that impacts on all aspects of a victim's life, often in ways that are long-lasting and irreparable. During the immensely difficult circumstances that many are experiencing amidst the Covid-19 pandemic, it is essential that victims of stalking are not forgotten and that essential services continue to support them. We know from the calls we have received to the National Stalking Helpline in recent weeks that stalking victims need support as much as ever and we want to reiterate our messag that we are here to support you."