Posted: Tuesday 21st April 2020
This week is National Stalking Awareness Week and the theme is See Stalking Clearly. The message serves as an important reminder that victims must remain visible and supported during these uncertain times.
Of course, the Covid19 pandemic will continue to be at the forefront of everyone’s minds so it is easy to forget about other issues and concerns that people are still facing in their day to day lives.
Stalking in any form and at any time is unacceptable and the impact on victims and their families can be devastating. Around 75% of calls to the National Stalking Helpline are from people who have been stalked by some kind of technologically-assisted means, so victims will continue to be at risk even during the lockdown. The fixation and obsession of perpetrators is unlikely to be affected by the current situation and, due to the Government restrictions of staying at home, offenders will be even more aware of the victim’s whereabouts.
I want to reassure victims and survivors that Avon and Somerset Police and I are fully committed to doing all we can to bring offenders to justice and ensure support is still available.
I fear at the best of times that victims of crime do not want to be seen as ‘bothering’ the police, let alone during the current circumstances. However, this is not the case. I would urge anyone who believes they are at risk or they are a subject of stalking to come forward at the earliest opportunity and report their concerns to the police. You are not alone and you deserve to be heard. Support through the National Stalking Helpline and other advocacy services has not changed during this period of uncertainty.
I also want to reach out to friends, families and neighbours; if you think a loved one is at risk, please have the courage to speak out. Your voice could serve as a lifeline to those who need it most - we all need to be supportive and compassionate towards one another during these challenging times.
To report concerns call 101 or 999 in an emergency. The National Stalking Helpline is available on 0808 802 0300. For more information, visit The Suzy Lamplugh Trust website at www.suzylamplugh.org