AS part of our commitment to address Stalking, South Wales Police and the Crime Commissioner hosted a Stalking Conference, which included a number of key note speakers, partner agencies, survivors and experts.
The event, which was held in Cardiff City Stadium, provided attendees with a comprehensive overview of the challenges police and partners face – and the opportunity to hear from experts in the field and survivors.
It was opened by the Deputy Crime Commissioner Emma Wools and Detective Superintendent Jason Davies. They both highlighted how stalking is one of the most frequently experienced forms of abuse. But outlined that this is a key area of vulnerability where police UK-wide need to provide a more focussed and enhanced service.
Stalking is an aggravated form of harassment and can defined as persistent and unwanted attention.
The impact of stalking on victims is significant. It curtails an individual’s freedom and liberties, restricting the ability to go about their everyday lives.
Detective Superintendent Jason Davies: “It’s important that we talk about stalking because stalking cases are under-reported and under-recorded.
“Protecting the most vulnerable in our communities and tackling violence against women and girls are key priorities within our joint Police and Crime Reduction Plan here in South Wales.
“Only by working together can we tackle this issue – reporting is the first and most critical step, once the police are aware we can and will take action. Together with our trusted partners we have the ability to provide effective support to victims to ensure their voices are being heard and perpetrators are brought to justice.
“I would like to thank everyone who gave up their time to attend today – especially the SEEDS survivor who enabled all of us to have a terrifying insight into the traumatic experience at the hands of her stalker.”
A presentation from the Suzy Lamplugh Trust touched on Stalking and Cyberstalking – and Dr Jane Monckton Smith, Senior Lecturer in Criminology and Director of the Centre for Learning and Innovation in Public Protection at the University of Gloucestershire talked about ‘Stalking and Intimate Partner Homicide’.
A SEEDS* Survivor talked about her traumatic experience and Clive Ruggles, whose daughter Alice was murdered by her ex-boyfriend in October 2016, provided an emotive presentation about his daughter’s death and legal measures he would like to see adopted.
Nationally** 1 in 5 women are a victim of stalking in their lives – with a significant majority of all victims being female. Figures in the South Wales Police Force area include 243 stalking offences in 2017/18, which equates to 0.2 per cent of all crime in that timeframe.
Detective Superintendent Jason Davies added: “Alongside the Commissioner’s team, we are working to get better at recognising the signs of stalking – and currently have a range of training and guidance to improve how we identify, record, risk assess, safety plan and investigate incidents of stalking.
“This resource – coupled with events like this – enable us to raise awareness, help those in need or at risk and showcase the significant support that is available. I am grateful for all the presenters today that helped to ensure this event was a success.”
What is Stalking?
Stalking is a repetitive pattern of unwanted, harassing or threatening behaviour committed by one person against another.
Acts include: telephone harassment, being followed, receiving unwanted gifts, messages being posted online including on social media channels, and other similar forms of intrusive behaviour which causes fear and distress for the person targeted.
Stalking or harassment can present itself in many different ways and at face value may not appear intimidating to someone else. However, if you are receiving any form of contact or communication that is clearly unwanted, causing you fear, distress or anxiety then it is harassment and you do not have to put up with it.
Police and partners need to raise awareness of how behaviour can escalate. The absence of violence doesn’t mean the victim is unaffected. Stalking can cause severe psychological distress to a victim. Depression, anxiety, sleep disturbance, paranoia, agoraphobia and post-traumatic stress disorder are all common side effects of stalking.
If you feel you are being harassed or stalked, please report it. Please contact us by calling 101 or visit us in person at a police station #ReportingStalking
Important: If you feel a person’s behaviour is putting you in immediate danger, call 999 straight away.
Help and support
The National Stalking Helpline
The Paladin National Stalking Advocacy Service
Scared of someone?
Alice Ruggles Trust