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Taking Action During National Stalking Awareness Week

18 AprNational stalking awareness week logo

This week (24th – 28th April) is National Stalking Awareness Week. Organisations across the UK will be holding events aimed at raising awareness of stalking. We want there to be a greater awareness of stalking behaviours and the obsessive fixations that give rise to them. The more people are aware of stalking, from friends, colleagues and managers to police and other professional agencies – the quicker support can be provided to keep people safe.

What is Stalking?

Stalking is one of the most frequently experienced forms of abuse but it’s hard to define. Stalking is a crime, but there’s no legal definition of what it is. The National Stalking Helpline explains stalking as “…repeated, unwanted intrusions into your life that cause you to feel scared or distressed.” The intrusions do not have to include threats of violence to be considered stalking. Stalking is most likely to be carried out by someone you know. Incidents of stalking can take place in your everyday life, at home, at work and as you move about.  There are a range of stalking behaviours and these can include repeated instances of:

  • Physically following you.
  • Contact through friends, work colleagues or your family.
  • Contact online through email or social media posts.
  • Intrusions on your privacy such as loitering in a particular place and watching or spying on you.

How Common is Stalking?

It’s hard to measure exactly how common stalking is, because so many cases go unreported. Police forces in England and Wales recorded 7706 cases in the three years leading up to February 2016. It seems that only a fraction is being reported. The British Crime Survey taken during the same period reveals that 20.2% of women and 9.8% of men had experienced stalking at some point in their adult lives.

What is the Impact of Stalking?

The Suzy Lamplugh Trust – a charity that campaigns for a safer society and that runs the National Stalking Helpline – has reported that people who experience stalking are also more likely to experience:

  • Severe psychological distress
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Sleep disturbance
  • Paranoia
  • Agoraphobia
  • Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

In addition, stalking often stops people from carrying out their day-to-day lives because of the high levels of fear and anxiety people who are being stalked may feel. In one study, ‘The Impact of Stalkers on Their Victims’, Pathe and Mullen interviewed 100 people who had experienced stalking: 53% had changed or ceased work as a result of their experiences.

What can we do about stalking?

National Stalking Awareness Week is all about raising awareness. At Leeway, we run training sessions that are aimed at increasing the awareness of the effects of domestic abuse (including stalking) in the workplace. Businesses and managers need to be aware of the impact that stalking can have on their workforce.

#StalkingMatters: Our Social Media Campaign

We will be updating our social media accounts throughout National Stalking Awareness Week. By raising awareness of this important issue, we hope to reach people who may be experiencing stalking to let them know that there is help out there. Over three quarters of people who are experiencing stalking don’t report stalking to the police until they have experienced over 100 incidents. 

To see our social media updates, follow us on Twitter and like our Facebook page. 

For information on our training, contact us on 0300 561 0077 or email admin@leewaynwa.org.uk.

For free confidential advice on stalking or other instances of domestic abuse, call our 24-hour Helpline on 0300 561 0077.

The National Stalking Helpline is run by the Suzy Lamplugh Trust. Call them on 0808 802 0300. 

The Paladin Service offers advice to victims of stalking. Their helpline number is 020 3866 4107.

In an emergency, always contact the police on 999.

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