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Police set out to bust stalking myths as part of national awareness week

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Avon and Somerset Police and Crime Commissioner and Police are highlighting the signs of stalking and encouraging victims to tell someone, in support of the Suzy Lamplugh Trust’s National Stalking Awareness Week (24th-28th April).

Reports of stalking and harassment in Avon and Somerset have increased by about 52% in the last year*.

Detective Superintendent Richard Kelvey, force lead for Stalking and Harassment, said: “The rise in reports of stalking and harassment can partly be attributed to better awareness, increased training for officers, and a change in legislation, which led to the introduction of two offences in 2015.

 “We’re supporting the Suzy Lamplugh Trust’s week-long initiative in a bid to bust the myth that stalking has to involve someone sitting in the bushes outside your house before it’s considered a crime, and to encourage victims to seek help.

“Stalking can include any persistent and clearly unwanted behaviour that causes the victim anxiety or fear. It’s obsessive and could take the form of social media, texting, calling, sending unwanted gifts or a mixture of these and other actions. The most important thing to remember is that, if someone’s behaviour is intimidating you, please tell someone.”

Avon and Somerset Police and Crime Commissioner Sue Mountstevens said: "Raising awareness of stalking is essential in encouraging people to come forward and seek help from the police or other agencies. Stalking is unacceptable and it is a criminal offence.

“The impact of stalking on victims and their families can be devastating. I would urge anyone affected by this crime not to suffer in silence. Please tell someone and seek the help you deserve to protect you from anyone who may want to cause you harm.”

Anyone concerned that they, or someone they know, may be the victim of stalking, can contact the Suzy Lamplugh Trust’s helpline on 0808 802 0300 or via this form on their website: https://www.suzylamplugh.org/forms/national-stalking-helpline-enquiry-form for advice and support, or police on 101 or at: https://www.avonandsomerset.police.uk/contact-us/tell-us-something/ In an emergency, always call 999.

Posted on Monday 24th April 2017
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