Victims Of Stalking Urged To Speak Out

19 April 2016, 06:14 | Updated: 19 April 2016, 06:23

The purpose of National Stalking Awareness Week, which kick-started this week is to encourage those who believe they are being targeted to speak out.

This year's campaign by the Suzy Lamplugh Trust, focuses on the risk social media poses with a new study - 'The Stalker in Your Pocket' - revealing it as a tool of choice for many stalkers.

Statistics for Suffolk show that the number of incidents of stalking recorded by Suffolk Constabulary during the 2013-2014 financial year were 46, compared to 74 in 2014-2015 and 27 between 1 April 2015 and 4 February 2016.

Meanwhile in Norfolk the number of incidents of stalking recorded by Norfolk Constabulary during the 2013- 2014 financial year were 18, compared to 42 in 2014 - 2015 and 48 between 1 April 2015 and 4 February 2016.

Despite the figures a lack of reporting is an issue and officers in Norfolk and Suffolk hope the national week of action will encourage victims to seek help.

Detective Superintendent Dave Cutler, who heads Suffolk Constabulary's Protecting Vulnerable People Directorate, said:

"Stalking can consist of many types of behaviour and these can just as easily be across social media as more physical forms. If the behaviour is persistent and clearly unwanted causing you fear, harassment or anxiety then it is stalking and you should not have to live with it. Stalking isn't just about strangers lurking in the shadows or obsessive fans following celebrities. The greatest number of stalking offences are by individual who know the person they are stalking. This may include being stalked by ex-partners, someone you have had some sort of prior acquaintance with e.g. someone you may have dated or have been friends with. Just because you know/knew the stalker it is still stalking and it is wrong."

"Stalking often has a huge emotional impact on the victim, they can feel very much alone and unable to seek help for fear of repercussions or that they will not be taken seriously."

"However we would ask that if you have concerns you come and speak to us. You certainly shouldn't feel as though you're wasting our time or that you're over-reacting. By talking to use we will be able to help you."

"Only through building confidence in those suffering from stalking will we see the increased reporting that will help us gain a better understanding of the extent of stalking in the county"

"I can't emphasise strongly enough that is you are experiencing stalking or think you are then you don't have to feel alone, you don't have to accept this behaviour and we can help you."