South Swindon MP Robert Buckland is supporting National Stalking Awareness Week (16th – 20th April).
This year the Suzy Lamplugh Trust are focusing on increasing reporting levels, encouraging victims to talk about their experiences and access support from police and other statutory and voluntary organisations.
1 in 5 women and 1 in 10 men will experience stalking in their lifetime.
National figures show that some two-thirds of all stalking cases involve intimate or ex-intimate partner relationships, with the remainder being acquaintance or stranger cases.
National Stalking Awareness week is about raising awareness of stalking and the stories behind the statistics.
Robert Buckland MP explained: “Having met victims of stalking, it is clear that it can have terrifying consequences and make everyday life unbearable. The need to protect victims and stop perpetrators at the earliest opportunity is clear.
In my professional life as a criminal barrister before 2010 and as an MP, I’ve had a close personal interest in this subject for many years. During my time as a backbench MP, I campaigned for new stalking laws to be introduced and as a result, the then Home Secretary and our Prime Minister, introduced stronger legislation. More recently, we doubled the maximum jail term for stalking from five years to ten.
Robert continued: “The Stalking Prevention Bill, which passed its Second Reading in Parliament in January, is supported by the Government and seeks to create a new Civil Stalking Protection Order to protect members of the public from risks associated with stalking. The aim of the proposed Order is to ensure that more can be done to protect victims at an earlier stage that is before the stage is reached when a criminal charge can be brought.
“The new order is part of a broader set of measures to tackle stalking. These include ongoing work to improve the police response to stalking, raise awareness amongst professionals, and increase the number of prosecutions for stalking offences.”
Wiltshire Police have published a list of steps to take to help deal with Stalking:
Keep a record with times, venue and description of what happened and was involved; write down information as soon as possible when events are still fresh in your mind
Record how the suspect looked and sounded - What they were wearing and the make and number plate of any vehicle involved
Stay alert and aware of your surroundings at all times
Think about your phone settings - Use a PIN with random numbers; turn off geo-location services in camera apps and your mobile settings; don't use apps that tell you where friends are, check you in etc
Use a safe computer - use a different computer, belonging to a friend or library, until you can install anti-spyware software on your computer; delete all online accounts; obtain several new e-mail addresses and don't use your name or nickname as a stalker could identify you; create new passwords and password protect your computer
Social networks are not secure - Your friends can easily share information that can help an abuser track you down. Make sure you use strict privacy settings or, if possible, delete your Facebook account.
Important - if you feel that someone's behaviour is putting you at immediate risk then call 999
If you feel that you are being stalked, we would prefer to speak to you on the phone by calling us on 101, or in person.
Horizon Victim and Witness Care - https://horizon.wiltshire.police.uk/article/891/Contact-Us
Splitz - 01225 775276 or email@example.com
Swindon Women's Aid - 01793 610610
National Stalking Helpline - 0808 802 0300
Paladin National Stalking Advocacy Service - 020 7840 8960 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Victim Support Wiltshire - 0808 281 0113 or email@example.com