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Ordeals of stalking victims as police get more Protection Orders to protect them

Victims of stalking are being safeguarded from further harm through the use of stalking protection orders.

Nottinghamshire Police were granted 69 stalking protection orders between 2020 and 2023, with a further seven granted so far in 2024.

The orders, which are applied for by the police and made by a Magistrates’ Court, are unique to each case and can prohibit an offender from contacting a victim or visiting a particular place.

Since 2019, the force has recorded a four-fold increase in the number of stalking charges, which totalled 198 in 2023.

A total of 723 positive outcomes were recorded between 2019 and 2023, which increased each year, and can include a charge, stalking protection order or community resolution.

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In one case, the offender’s behaviour demonstrated a variety of different stalking actions and escalating behaviour, such as unwanted contact, threats of harm, and showing up unannounced.

Following the breakdown of a relationship, the stalker bombarded the victim’s phone with multiple text messages, which forced her to change her phone number.

The unwanted contact continued as the victim started to receive emails from different email addresses, unwanted gifts appeared at her home, and she began to receive hand-delivered letters and letters through the post.

The stalker also accessed the victim’s Netflix account and changed the profile name to ‘I Miss You’.

His actions escalated to loitering near a school at the school-run time, following her home and then banging on the door and shouting abuse at the victim.

The behaviour caused the victim to avoid walking short distances out of fear and instead paid for taxis to avoid any chance encounters with her stalker.

She also cancelled plans for an anniversary birthday as his actions have had a significant impact on her health and left her “absolutely terrified”.

After Nottinghamshire Police was contacted, a criminal investigation was launched and a stalking protection order was applied for, which was granted by the courts.

The order prevented the stalker from contacting the victim and her family and prohibited him from visiting any place where the victim was present, which offered her a sense of reassurance, comfort and safety.

Officers work to reduce the threat, risk and harm of stalking through the monitoring of orders but believe that stalking offences are underreported due to misconceptions of what stalking looks like.

In extreme examples of stalking, lengthy sentences will be imposed on offenders who cause fear, unease and distress to victims through their actions.

Stanislaw Filipiak, 39, used the cover of his job as a fast-food delivery driver to prey on young women and covertly record intimate videos and photos of them in their homes.

After becoming fixated with one woman in Nottingham, Filipiak’s hands were seen coming through her ground-floor bathroom window while she was showering.

Detectives also uncovered that Filipiak had twice been inside the woman’s home while she was away on holiday.

He had rifled through her underwear drawer and had taken photos of her expired passport, Facebook account log-in details, and other sensitive password information.

The investigation took a more sinister turn when detectives analysed two of Filipiak’s mobile phones.

It was discovered that he had secretly filmed videos of young women and photographed them while they were in their bedrooms and bathrooms.

Pictures and recordings were taken through windows and gaps in their blinds, including while the victims were in various stages of undress.

Filipiak pleaded guilty to one count of trespass with intent to commit a sexual offence, namely voyeurism, seven counts of voyeurism, two counts of stalking, and possession of an offensive weapon when he appeared at Nottingham Crown Court in October last year.

He was sentenced to six years in prison and a three-year extended licence period.

Filipiak was also ordered to sign the Sex Offenders’ Register indefinitely and made subject to a 10-year sexual harm prevention order and restraining order.

Detective Inspector Abi Goucher is the safeguarding and harm reduction lead for Nottinghamshire Police’s Prevention Hub, which is a collaboration between force departments responsible for developing strategies to prevent crime and disorder throughout the city and county.

Her department’s efforts are a crucial part of the force’s work to protect vulnerable adults from harm through stalking or stalking-related violence.

“Stalking and harassment are serious crimes which can have a devastating effect on the lives of victims, their friends, and family,” DI Goucher said. “We are committed to doing everything possible to bring offenders to justice and protect victims.” 

She added:

“Stalking goes to the very heart of violence against women and girls, often removing their feeling of safety. 

“Stalking follows the pattern of FOUR – fixated, obsessed, unwanted and repeated. Any kind of persistent and unwanted contact that causes distress is stalking and is unacceptable.” 

Anyone who thinks they are being stalked is encouraged to report it to police online or by calling 101. If you are in immediate danger, always call 999.

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