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Joining forces against stalking: National Stalking Week

Crime / Sat 20th Apr 2024 at 03:48pm

SOUTHEND, Essex and Thurrock Domestic Abuse Board (SETDAB) are working in partnership to support the Suzy Lamplugh Trust’s National Stalking Week.  Held from 22 to 26 April, this campaign serves as a crucial platform to raise awareness about stalking and its profound impact on victims, families and communities.

Stalking is when someone repeatedly behaves in a way that makes you feel scared distressed or threatened.  It can take various forms, from unwanted gifts and messages to surveillance and physical following.  Cyberstalking has increased, the Online Safety Act 2023 makes the use of social media and messaging platforms to send threats a specific crime.

Andy Mariner and Nicky O’Shaughnessy, deputy chairs of SETDAB said “The theme of National Stalking Week this year is ‘Join forces against stalking’ and that is something we are committed to do in Essex.  

“We want our communities to feel and be safe, stalking is a crime and we are working hard in partnership to tackle this serious issue.  Across the partnership we are strengthening our response to incidents of stalking and improving our support for victims.

“Essex Police launched Stalking Intervention Panels to provide a multiagency approach to investigations, offering stronger protection to victims and the ability to progress stalking cases faster. 

“Additional grant funding has increased the number of Independent Stalking Advocacy Caseworkers (ISACs) to support victims across Essex.  By joining forces against stalking, we can create safer and more supportive environments for all of our residents.”

ISAC’splay a crucial role in supporting victims of stalking, safely navigating them through the criminal justice system and using their specialist knowledge to help victims understand their rights.

An ISAC from Changing Pathways said: “it’s rewarding supporting a victim through their journey, especially when a conviction or injunction is achieved. I supported a female victim where the stalking had a significant impact on her mental health, resulting in her being scared to leave the house and not being able to work. A stalking protection order was secured and eventually her perpetrator was convicted. She was able to move on and is now studying at university and able to socialise and enjoy life.”

A Stalking Protection Order (SPO) is a civil order, which is to protect victims of stalking. 

Throughout the week, events, workshops and initiatives will take place, aimed at empowering individuals to recognise, report and prevent stalking. 

If you are affected by issues raised in this article, there is help available from your local domestic abuse service Essex Compass, call 0330 333 7 444. 

If you are in immediate danger, always call 999.

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