Sunday 21 July 2024
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Stalking victims in Nottinghamshire urged to seek help as soon as possible

Victims of stalking, their friends and family are being urged to seek help at the earliest opportunity.

Stalking offences are defined by a pattern of fixated, obsessive, unwanted and repeated behaviours – in person or through remote means such as social media.

However, it is believed that some victims are not coming forward to get the help they need.

This could either be because they are worried or embarrassed to do so, or that they are not aware that the behaviours they are experiencing actually amount to a serious criminal offence.

At the start of National Stalking Awareness Week, Nottinghamshire Police is urging people to seek help from the police at the earliest opportunity, and to reach out to the various local agencies that can offer them expert advice and support.

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Detective Chief Inspector Joanna Elbourn, stalking lead for Nottinghamshire Police, said: “We take a very proactive, intervention-based approach to complaints of stalking – arresting and interviewing suspects where we can to send a very clear message that their behaviour is not acceptable.

“Ultimately our priority as police officers is to understand the level of threat posed, safeguard victims from potential harm and stop these behaviours from happening again.

“We achieve these goals by intervening in a formal, recorded way as early as possible.

“Other positive outcomes include the use include

Stalking Prevention Orders, which can place a formal legal restriction on people behaving in a certain way.

“However, one of our biggest challenges when it comes to stalking offences is the reluctance of some victims to come forward and seek help. Some may not want to involve the police, whilst others may not actually be aware that the behaviours they are experiencing amount to stalking.

“In National Stalking Awareness Week we want to make it clear to victims, their friends and their families that help is always there if you need it – from the police and also from our partners.”

Nottinghamshire has a network of support agencies who are there to support victims through the process and bridge the gap to the criminal justice system.

These groups are the focus of this year’s Stalking Awareness Week, which is organised by the Suzie Lamplugh Trust. Locally they include Juno Women’s Aid, Women’s Aid, and Equation, who operate a bespoke service for men who are the victims of stalking behaviours.

Kate Reece, safeguarding and stalking officer with Nottinghamshire Police, works every day to support victims. She said: “Stalking advocates play a vital role bridging the gap between the victim and the criminal justice system, safety planning and assessing the victim’s needs – for example with housing support, and access to therapy services.

“They are an integral part of supporting victims through the stalking journey and we are very fortunate to have such good resources available here in Nottinghamshire.

“So, if you or somebody else you know is experiencing stalking I would very strongly advise getting in touch with the police or another support agency as soon as possible. Once we know about an issue we can start working in partnership to stop it.”

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