Posted: Wed 20th Apr 2016

National Stalking Awareness Week 2016 /
This article is old - Published: Wednesday, Apr 20th, 2016

This week is National Stalking Awareness Week and we are supporting the Suzy Lamplugh Trust 2016 campaign – Stalking Counts – which includes the affects of cyberstalking. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

As we are more connected online than ever before, new research has found that Britons are increasingly at risk of being stalked online. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

A new Britain-wide survey commissioned by Suzy Lamplugh Trust and conducted online by YouGov, led to The Stalker in Your Pocket study, produced in collaboration with consultant psychiatrist Dr Raj Persaud and forensic psychiatrist Dr David James. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

A representative sample of 4,054 British adults were surveyed, which revealed that nearly a fifth of all British adult women (18%) and 8% of all British adult men had been stalked. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

These latest findings show that social media has become the tool of choice for many stalkers. Key findings include: ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

There is nowhere to hide on social media ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

  • 36.8% of people that have been stalked had been stalked using online methods such as by Facebook or email

Victims often respond to stalking by disconnecting from the internet ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

  • Of all those who have been stalked, 22.2% have withdrawn from some form online activity and/or social media
  • Of those who have been stalked online, 43.1% have withdrawn from some form online activity and/or social media

Reporting stalking ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Where online stalking was the sole form of stalking behaviour, only 9.8% of people reported it to the police
In 2015, the National Stalking Helpline run by Suzy Lamplugh Trust, received over 6,500 calls and emails for help and advice. The Helpline was not able to answer all calls because of limited capacity and a year-on-year increase in demand for the service. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Victims should not need to change their lives but many feel that they have to ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

  • 32.0% felt fearful about their personal safety
  • 9.5% moved home
  • 26% stopped answering their telephone
  • 18.1% stopped answering their front door
  • 11.4% stopped using their mobile phone

The researchers, Dr James and Dr Persaud, say that ease of access to victims by the use of social media has given the stalker a new ‘weapon in their armoury’. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

“New methods of communication mean stalking online is something you can never get away from. In effect, you carry the stalker ‘in your pocket’ in the form of any mobile phone. This can be especially traumatising for victims.” said Dr James. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Dr Raj Persaud said, “As a consultant psychiatrist, I have seen many patients who have been stalked. My professional experience and our findings illustrate that stalking is not just a problem for celebrities. People from all walks of life can become victims of stalking whether it be online or offline”. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Director of Suzy Lamplugh Trust, Rachel Griffin, said that victims of stalking are increasingly experiencing abuse through online methods. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

“It is incredibly important that we are aware that victims of stalking can be harassed and abused both when they are going about their daily lives and when they are online. The obsession and fixation of stalkers means that they will use any means possible to pursue their victims.” ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Victims of stalking are encouraged to seek assistance and to contact the police. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

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