Stalking Awareness Week

This week marks Stalking Awareness Week.

Surrey Police – From nought to one hundred

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45, 46, 47, 48, 49, 50, 51, 52, 53, 54, 55, 56, 57, 58, 59, 60, 61, 62, 63, 64, 65, 66, 67, 68, 69, 70, 71, 72, 73, 74, 75, 76, 77, 78, 79, 80, 81, 82, 83, 84, 85, 86, 87, 88, 89, 90, 91, 92, 93, 94, 95, 96, 97, 98, 99, 100…

Nope, this isn’t maths class, but seeing it like this gives a bit of perspective… Did you know, on average, victims will experience 100 incidents of stalking before they report it to police?  Initially, many victims may think ‘they’ll get the hint soon’ or ‘it’s not that serious’. But, what can start as a couple of text messages can spiral pretty quickly until the victim returns home and finds the perpetrator hiding in the wardrobe. (True story!) And it’s at this point, so desperate for it to stop, and terrified of what the stalker may do next, that the victim will eventually call us.

For us, this means two things. Firstly, it’s knowing that by the time we become involved, more often than not, it is ‘that serious’. It’s gone from nought to one hundred and we’re already on the back foot. Another pretty horrifying statistic is that one in two domestic stalkers will act on it if they’ve made a threat.

Secondly, where possible, it shows just how important it is to take action as early as possible to try and prevent the situation escalating. To help identify stalking, think FOUR – Fixated, Obsessive, Unwanted and Repeated. In fact, two or more incidents form a course of conduct which can be classified as stalking.

Help safeguard victims by understanding and recognising stalking behaviours:

  • Following a person
  • Contacting, or attempting to contact, a person by any means
  • Publishing any statement or other material relating or purporting to relate to a person, or purporting to originate from a person
  • Monitoring the use by a person of the internet, email or any other form of electronic communication
  • Loitering in any place (whether public or private)
  • Interfering with any property in the possession of a person
  • Watching or spying on a person.

We recorded 625 incidents of stalking in the last year – a figure we know is just the tip of the iceberg. Chances are you’ll be affected by stalking at some point, whether that’s attending an incident or because you’re concerned for a family member or friend. More information and handy links are available on The Suzy Lamplugh Trust website.