Stalking: a criminal offence but still a problem
Stalking became a criminal offence in England and Wales on the 25th November 2012. David Niven Associates will be putting on training for all disciplines involved in this increasingly worrying crime.
We are delighted that Home Truths (an independent community based, not-for-profit organisation that provides specialist services to anyone from the age of 16 who is, or has experienced domestic violence and abuse from partners, ex-partners or family members) will deliver it on our behalf.
Much of the following information comes from what will form the basis of their training construct: About 1 in 25 women under 60 are victims of stalking every year according to the Home Office. Stalking is closely related to domestic violence and abuse. The most common stalkers are male partners or ex partners. 3 quarters of women killed by a violent partner or ex-partner were stalked on the lead up to their death, and on average a victim will experience 100 incidents of stalking before reporting it to the police.
To be the victim introduces complex difficulties as well as straight forward fear and anger into their lives. Whether it’s disrupted sleep patterns, loss of friends, inability to go out and the onset of varied symptoms of mental health problems – including depression. Work suffers, families suffer, friends suffer and relationships are put under enormous strain.
At last it has been elevated to a criminal offence but, due to some sad parts of human nature and significant members of obsessional members in society it’s not going to be an easy crime to contain.
Awareness raising is terribly important and organisations such as the Network for Surviving Stalking offer victim support, along with apps that have been developed to capture evidence (Self Evident app) downloadable as a free service may also be a way of helping some people recapture some control over their lives and not feel totally hopeless.
All this includes, but doesn’t reflect, the potential enormity of what we now call cyber stalking. All the new social media platforms which are consolidating in our world of communication present great opportunities for stalkers to target their victims. Sadly there is an increasing awareness of many children and young people participating in this as well.
When there was limited social mobility and only basic communication methods, stalking was much more difficult to practice. Sadly those obsessive desperate people in our society now seem to have been given a wide range of tools to pursue their criminal activity.
The real scale of the problem is still difficult to fathom, both community groups and law enforcements are convinced that it is wide spread, insidious and will take a considerably long time t to get to the point where victims can see some hope of real help and societal protection.
See also The Crime of Stalking