Home U.K National Stalking Awareness week: Stalking rises 300 percent in lockdown- how to...

National Stalking Awareness week: Stalking rises 300 percent in lockdown- how to report it

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Stalking data indicates perpetrators have taken advantage of lockdown to infiltrate and violate victim’s lives, according to a leading anti-stalking charity. Recent data from the National Stalking Helpline found 56 percent of victims whose experience of stalking began before March 2020 saw an increase in being pursued on and offline in recent months. Stalking incidents jumped 300 percent between April 2020 and February 2021 according to Scotland Yard.

Authorities believe stalking cases rose as many perpetrators were stuck at home after being furloughed and have taken the opportunity to target their victims online.

A charity has warned stalkers have also taken advantage of wearing face masks to covertly stalk victims.

Face masks have made it harder for police to positively identify perpetrators and prosecute suspects using CCTV.

Charity campaigners with the Suzy Lamplugh Trust said the most determined stalkers have used lockdown to their advantage, attempting to physically harass their victims, including using their one hour of daily exercise as a chance to follow them.

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Suky Bhaker, chief executive of the Suzy Lamplugh Trust, an organisation aiming to reduce the risk of violence and aggression, said the lockdown had left many victims feeling more isolated and vulnerable.

She said: “We know that stalkers have been using the lockdown restrictions to their advantage, such as using their allowed daily exercise to follow or monitor victims.”

The chief executive added many victims were left feeling like “sitting ducks”.

Perpetrators had “more time on their hands” often as a result of being furloughed or losing a job, which she said has also been a factor.

Between April 2018 and March 2019, 1,695 stalking offences were recorded by police in London, up 654 on the previous year, Metropolitan Police detective inspector Lee Barnard said.

The number of stalking incidents rose to 1,908 from April 2019 to March 2020.

During the pandemic, from April 2020 to February 2021, the figure skyrocketed to hit 7,909 in total.

Mr Barnard admitted the impact of this type of crime has been overlooked at times.

He said the rise in incidents is due to better reporting and recording practices, rather than a jump in the number of victims.

The Suzy Lamplugh Trust has urged police forces to make better use of stalking protection orders, which ban perpetrators from approaching their victims.

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If you are being stalked, you should keep a record of what happened, where, when and other details about each time you are followed, called, received post or emailed.

The more detail you can provide, the more change authorities will have of catching and persecuting the perpetrator.

Stalking is illegal and can include any of the above types of behaviour.

If you or someone else is in immediate danger, you should contact 999.

For instances where it is not an emergency, you should contact your local police.

You can also find more information from the National Stalking Helpline on 0808 802 0300.



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