South Yorkshire Police are working closely with charities to support campaigns during National Stalking Awareness Week.
The campaign, headed by the Suzy Lamplugh Trust, highlights the serious and damaging nature of the crime; this year’s theme focuses on Standing Against Stalking: Supporting Young People.
The week of action will specialise on stalking amongst people aged between 16-24 years old and the modern day problem of online stalking.
On Monday the Suzy Lamplugh Trust published findings for a pilot study they conducted with young people. They found 77% of respondents had experienced at least one repeated harmful behaviour consistent with stalking, with this proportion rising to 87% among respondents who identified their gender as female, non-binary or other.
Throughout the week-long campaign there are a number of conferences from speakers involved in anti-stalking charities and the government.
Alex Davies-Jones, the current Shadow Minister for Tech, Gambling & Digital Economy, is a key speaker during the week’s campaign. She has led on the Online Safety Bill for the Labour Party as it has progressed through the House of Commons.
Speaking before the campaign she said: “Social media companies have also been allowed to prioritise profit over online safety.”
South Yorkshire Police have been involved directly with the Suzy Lamplugh Trust to improve their services related to stalking.
The pilot study conducted earlier this month generated points to improve for police forces in the UK such as: specialist training for stalking, and separate procedures for stalking amongst young people.
Chief Superintendent Cherie Buttle, South Yorkshire Police’s force lead for stalking, said: “As a force, we are committed to tackling this type of crime wherever we find it. There are many ways we can put a stop to this behaviour, including prison sentences, restraining orders and other penalties.”
Stalking is defined as a pattern of fixated, obsessive, unwanted and repetitive behaviour that causes a victim to fear for their safety. This behaviour could include unwanted contact in person, over the phone, online or on social media platforms.
If anyone feels that they are a victim of stalking they can access the national stalking helpline at 0808 802 0300 or contact South Yorkshire police at 101.