South Yorkshire police urge people who think they are victims of stalking to speak out and not stay silent.
Since the start of the year, South Yorkshire Police have charged one hundred and seventy-five people with stalking and harassment offences across the region.
Force Lead for Stalking, Superintendent Cherie Buttle said: “The pandemic has left many of us feeling more isolated than usual and I am acutely aware that this could have had an impact on how willing people have felt to report offences to us.
“Stalking is a serious offence, you are not alone, and I would ask anyone who thinks they are a victim, or know someone who is, to get in touch with us so we can take action.
“The most important advice I can give anyone who is scared is to not stay silent, we understand it’s a very difficult thing to talk about, but please tell someone.
“The impact of stalking on your life can be huge, both physically and psychologically, please know it’s not your fault and you do not have to put up with it.”
Police have released this appeal following the start of Stalking Awareness Week today.
Stalking is a pattern of fixated, obsessive, unwanted and repetitive behaviour that leaves a victim in fear for their safety.
Different forms of stalking include unwanted contact in person, on the phone, or on social media.
It can also involve someone threatening or damaging property, following or spying on a person.
Stalking is a criminal offence, but lots of people who experience it don’t tell anybody or report it to the Police.
Lisa Bradley, a University of Sheffield lecturer who is a victim of stalking, said that the first text she received was when she was watching television alone in her flat in 2000 with it simply reading ‘I’m watching The Priory too’.
“It freaked me out because not only was my flat on the top floor of a four-storey building, but the television was positioned where anyone looking in from outside couldn’t see it.
“For the next three weeks, the messages continued daily, but there were no direct threats. It was little things like ‘I saw you on your lunch break today’ and ‘I like turkey sandwiches too’.”
“It was awful. I started having trouble sleeping and I was panicking all the time.”
For Stalking Awareness Week, South Yorkshire Police are working closely with the Suzy Lamplugh Trust, who give advice to victims.
Anyone who thinks they are a victim can contact them on the National Stalking Helpline- 0808 802 0300 or visit their website https://www.suzylamplugh.org/refer-someone-to-us