National Stalking Awareness Day: Police urge victims not to suffer in silence

ACC Jawaid Akhtar is urging victims of stalking to report the crime
ACC Jawaid Akhtar is urging victims of stalking to report the crime

West Yorkshire Police urged victims of stalking not to suffer in silence on National Stalking Awareness Day today.

The force recorded 290 crimes of harrassment and charged 230 people with the offence between last September and February.

Assistant Chief Constable Jawaid Akhtar said: “Stalking and harassment are crimes that can have a dramatic impact on people.

“Nationally around one in five women and one in 10 men will be stalked at some point in their lives and this is unacceptable.”

Stalking or harassment can include following someone around, constantly texting them, sending unwanted gifts or harassing someone over the internet.

A study by the National Centre for Cyberstalking Research found that 54.7 per cent of men and 43.1 per cent of women give up social activities as a result of being stalked.

Around 80 per cent of victims are stalked by someone they know and 40 per cent of cases reported to the National Stalking Helpline involve ex-partners.

ACC Akhtar said: “We don’t want victims to suffer in silence but to come forward and report it so that something can be done to stop it.

“We dedicate a lot of work and effort into stopping this problem and all our front line staff are given training to deal with stalking and harassment.”

National Stalking Awareness Day aims to increase understanding of the crime of stalking and to encourage more victims to come forward.

It is backed by the Home Office and marks the second anniversary of the launch of the National Stalking Helpline, which is run by the Suzy Lamplugh Trust, the Protection Against Stalking and Network for Surviving Stalking and the National Cyberstalking Research Centre.

For support, call the National Stalking Helpline on 0808 802 0300 or contact police on 101. In an emergency always ring 999.