National Stalking Awareness Week : 8-12th April 2019
Today is the first day of National Stalking Awareness week, and the focus this year is on the emotional and mental trauma of victims of stalking #StalkingStealsLives.
Sussex Police are getting involved in the campaign and have explained that “Stalking is when someone shows persistent and unwanted attention towards another person. Often when individual incidents are put together they can reveal a pattern of obsessive behavior.”
Stalking victim Amanda Playle, is joining Sussex Police’s campaign to take stalking seriously and not delay reporting.
Playle, who was being stalked be an ex-partner only got in touch with Sussex Police after two years of being attacked with messages that soon became abusive.
“It was constant, all day, every day – at the worst point I was being contacted up to 300 times a day on Facebook, Whatsapp and email. The messages had turned abusive and threatening, and got out of hand when the stalker started messaging my daughter, my parents, my boss and my friends.
“People need to go to the police the moment they get a message they’re not comfortable with, or that turns nasty. These people don’t go away, you just need to make the first step to get help.”
After reporting to the police, Amanda found out a shocking truth. Initially she believed that the person stalking her was her ex-boyfriend from school, but in fact it was her husband. She said:
“I became terrified to leave my house, go to work or go shopping. I knew I was being watched and followed from the messages he sent. It had such a huge impact on my life; I became depressed and started self-harming and even considered suicide. I no longer trust anyone anymore.”
As part of National Stalking Awareness Week, Sussex Police have published videos of Playles story, to educate people about the dangers of stalking.
She believes that the support she received from Sussex Police was vital to her recovery:
“The police were hugely supportive and took it seriously. They referred me to local support agency Veritas Justice and worked hard to build up my trust throughout the court process. I don’t think I’d be here without them
Her husband was eventually convicted of stalking at Lewes Crown Court, and was sentenced to three and a half years in prison.
Sussex Police have urged victims of stalking to report.
“If you are being stalked or harassed it is important that you report it. Stalkers are fixated and obsessive offenders who will not stop.”
- Always call 999 if you are in danger
- You can report stalking or harassment online at https://www.sussex.police.uk/stalking by calling 101 or in person at your local police station.
- Veritas is a local organisation which provides advocacy and support for victims of stalking – http://veritas-justice.co.uk/stalking/
- The National Stalking Helpline provides advice and guidance to current or previous victims of stalking or harassment 0808 802 0300.
- Paladin ‘support high risk victims of stalking with their specialist Independent Stalking Advocacy Caseworkers (ISAC) and ensure that a coordinated community response is developed locally to protect victims.’ Contact them at 0207 840 8960 or firstname.lastname@example.org
- Suzy Lamplugh Trust provides advice on practical personal – http://www.suzylamplugh.org/ – 020 7091 0014.
© Sussex Police