Essex Police are supporting a new campaign helping to stop stalkers and bring them to justice. It also aims to raise awareness and help people recognise the signs of stalking – as a victim or when you suspect someone else might be.
Run by SETDAB, the Southend, Essex and Thurrock domestic abuse partnership, the campaign was launched in response to the large rise in stalking offences in Essex.
Rise of the stalker
In 2018, 656 stalking offences were recorded in Essex compared to 207 in 2017. Of the 635 victims, 78% of the victims were women and 77% of the suspects were men. But stalkers can come in all shapes, sizes and scenarios. Ex-partners, colleagues, the jealous ex-partners of your new partner or just complete strangers.
Definition of stalking
Stalking is defined as fixated, obsessive, unwanted and repeated behaviour. It may seem normal and ordinary in isolation, for example receiving a text or phone call, but when it is repeated and alongside other unwanted behaviour it may cause alarm and distress for the victim.
The most common behaviours carried out by perpetrators include: online abuse, leaving signs, following you, finding you, tracking you, using your kids to get to you, bombarding texts, unwanted gifts and obsessive calls.
Victims of stalking endure intense emotional torment. They are plagued with fears about when their tormenter will next call, email or text. And many victims are afraid to go out in case they see this person. They also worry that someone may be watching their home.
4 ways to stop stalkers
Worse still, they are constantly fearful – even in their own homes. But there are ways to restore peace of mind.
- Video intercoms to monitor who is at the door;
- cctv to monitor the exterior of your property;
- panic buttons to ensure you can call for help at any time; and
- 24/7 monitoring to be confident that help will come.
Frequently, friends and relatives can be dismissive and put fears down to an ‘overactive imagination’. Or suggest that it will just stop if ignored.
But the Clinical Lead for the Independent Stalking Advocacy Service, Changing Pathways, had this to say:
“Too often the signs of stalking are missed and behaviours seen in isolation. If you join the dots you will see the more sinister pattern. Friends & family may make “reasonable” suggestions e.g. it will just stop, however the true nature of fixation is not “reasonable”. Stalking is a crime and is insidious and can steal lives and take lives. So please take it seriously and get advice from the experts.”
If you think you’re being stalked and need help, visit www.setdab.org or call Changing Pathways on 01268 729707.
In an emergency always call 999.