A call for greater awareness of the absolute terror that stalkers can inflict has been made following National Stalking Awareness Day by Nottinghamshire’s Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner Chris Cutland.
“Recent changes in the law have made stalking a specific crime for the first time, and that is a very good thing,” she said. “But there is still an urgent need for people to be aware of how determined stalkers can encroach like parasites on people’s lives.
“The public need to know that there is support available for victims of stalkers – and stalkers should be left in no doubt that they will be brought to justice and punished.”
She went on: “People also need to be very clear about the increase in cyber stalking, and how stalkers with technical know-how can invade people’s privacy to a frightening degree. Innocent people are sometimes pursued with relentless obsession by stalkers who know where their victims live, what they are doing, where they are going.
“This is why it is so important to be careful of what is revealed when chatting online, using social media like Facebook or taking up online dating.”
She said that Nottinghamshire Police were very much aware of the devious ways in which stalkers homed in on their victims. “Nonetheless, it’s also important for ordinary, law-abiding people to be aware so that they don’t make themselves vulnerable.”
Pointing to a 2011/12 crime survey for England and Wales that found 18.3% of women and 10.4% of men had been stalked, she urged people “to be aware of the dangers and effects of being stalked, and to be sympathetic to people who find themselves subjected to this horrible crime.”
Ms Cutland – a powerful women’s campaigner who has for many years supported victims of domestic violence – was pleased that the Home Office was supporting a conference on National Stalking Awareness Day to help familiarise frontline practitioners with the two new stalking offences. “
But she added: “I would like it to be more widely known that these laws are now up and running so that victims don’t think that stalkers can get away with it.”
Media enquiries: Sallie Blair on 01283 821012 or 07702 541401
Posted on Wednesday 24th April 2013