• 96% of victims of stalking are stalked by someone they know*
• 55% of stalking victims are stalked by an ex-intimate partner*
• Victims experience over 100 incidents before reporting it to the police**
• 94% of women murdered by men nationally were stalked in the year leading up to their murder*
A new campaign to encourage people who may be victims of stalking to speak up about incidents that cause them concern, even if other people would consider them to be trivial or insignificant, has today (Monday 21 January 2019) been launched by North Yorkshire Police.
The ‘No matter how small’ campaign, which will run until 31 March 2019, also seeks to raise awareness of the different types of stalking and help people to recognise the signs.
Stalking can be defined as “a pattern of unwanted, fixated and obsessive behaviour which is intrusive and causes fear of violence or serious alarm or distress”. The risks posed to victims of stalking are often significant, due to the nature of the offending and the motivations of the perpetrators.
In North Yorkshire, 132 stalking crimes and 1347 harassment crimes were recorded in the year ending December 2018. Whilst harassment can include some of the same behaviours as stalking and causes a victim fear and distress, stalking is differentiated by the motivation of the stalker.
Developed in consultation with The National Stalking Helpline, which is run by the Suzy Lamplugh Trust, and Paladin National Advocacy Service, the only trauma informed national advocacy service for victims of stalking, the strapline of the ‘No matter how small’ campaign sends a clear message about the severity of stalking to encourage people to seek advice:
“No matter how small it may seem. Speak to someone.”
According to recent research, ‘Exploring the Relationship between Stalking and Homicide’ by the University of Gloucestershire in association with Suzy Lamplugh Trust, 94% of women murdered by men nationally were stalked in the year leading up to their murder.
The launch comes after HMIC and Her Majesty’s Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate (HMCPSI now renamed HMICFRS) carried out the first inspection into harassment and stalking in 2016/17.
‘Living in fear – the police and CPS response to harassment and stalking’ details a number of recommendations for the Home Office, National Police Chiefs’ Council, Chief Constables, College of Policing and Crown Prosecution Service to implement to make the lives of victims of harassment and stalking safer.
The force has since adopted a new procedure for how it responds to stalking and harassment reports and will be investing in training for officers and staff over the next quarter.
Commenting on the campaign, Detective Superintendent Allan Harder, Head of Safeguarding at North Yorkshire Police, said:
“There are numerous misconceptions about stalking with many people not realising the devastating impact it has on its victims. It is not romantic; it is about fixation and obsession. It is an extremely serious crime and it can, and does, escalate to rape and murder.
“Victims of stalking are often vulnerable and have frequently suffered the actions of perpetrators over a long period of time. Many are survivors of domestic abuse, who leave coercive and controlling relationships only to become the victims of an extension of this behaviour by way harassment and stalking.
“Our ‘No matter how small’ campaign seeks to send a message to victims and witnesses that we want them to come forward at the earliest stage with any concerns, even if other people would consider them to be trivial or insignificant.
“Stalking thrives on secrecy and so the most important thing is to tell someone – be it a friend, family member, support organisation such as the National Stalking Helpline, Paladin, or the police.
“By telling someone we can give you the help and support you need.”
The campaign goes live today (Monday 21 January 2018) on the fore’s social media accounts, website and poster advertising across the county. Throughout, it will seek to reinforce:
- Key statistics about stalking
- Examples to help victims or witnesses to recognise the signs of stalking
- Types of perpetrators
- Myths and facts
- Helpful tips about what you should do if you think you or someone else is being stalked or harassed.
- How to report it
The force’s website also signposts to organisations where victims and witnesses can get help and support and the details of who to speak to if they need if they do not wish to speak to the police.
Victoria Charleston, Policy and Development Manager of the Suzy Lamplugh Trust said:
“Stalking is a devastating and insidious crime that can have tremendous impact on people’s lives. This campaign by North Yorkshire Police is a positive step in supporting people to come forward and receive an informed and expert response from officers.”
Rachel Horman, Chair of Paladin said:
“We are really pleased with the campaign from North Yorkshire Police and hope that victims are encouraged to come forward. All too often we hear victims say that they did not think they would be taken seriously if they reported their concerns.
“On average victims experience over 100 incidents before reporting it to the police which is far too late. We hope that this campaign will also lead to an increase in charges and convictions for stalking which may save lives as stalking can escalate to homicide if nothing is done.”
The North Yorkshire Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner, Julia Mulligan, said:
“Having spoken to and supported many victims of stalking over the years, it is a crime which can have a devastating and long term impact on lives. There is never a bad time to come forward to the police, but if this campaign can highlight that stalking can start in relatively inconspicuous ways, it may open victim’s eyes to come forward sooner and prevent the case developing into something more serious.
“Improvements in this area of policing are welcome, and I am pleased there is now a concerted effort to put better support in place for victims, and better training for better investigations.”
The campaign forms part of the police’s wider programme of work to tackle stalking, harassment, domestic abuse and other vulnerabilities.
Follow the campaign via @NYorksPolice on Twitter and the North Yorkshire Police Facebook account using #NoMatterHowSmall.
If you, or someone you know, is affected by any of the issues in this article, help is available.
You will find the website addresses and telephone numbers of organisations that provide help and support for people affected by harassment and stalking below.
- National Stalking Helpline: 0808 802 0300 | The National Stalking Helpline is run by the Suzy Lamplugh Trust. Calls are free from all landline telephones and also from mobiles using the O2, Orange, T Mobile, Three (3), Virgin, and Vodafone networks. Calls will not be shown on BT landline bills.
- Paladin National Advocacy Service: 0203 866 4107 | firstname.lastname@example.org | Paladin National Advocacy Serviceis the only trauma informed national advocacy service for victims of stalking. They have independent stalking advocate caseworkers who can assist if you need specialist advice or support.
You can also contact:
- Supporting Victims North Yorkshire
- Network for Surviving Stalking
- Protection Against Stalking
- Women’s Aid – Helpline 0808 2000 247
- Men’s advice line – Helpline 0808 8010 327
If you wish to report incidents of stalking or harassment, please contact North Yorkshire Police on 101 or if it’s an emergency, always call 999.
For more information visit northyorkshire.police.uk/stalking
*According to the Suzy Lamplugh Trust.
**According to Paladin.Last modified: January 21, 2019