Four stalking crimes are reported in Sussex every month on average, according to figures released by Sussex Police.
Since the new legislation came into force in November 2012, Sussex Police have recorded 81 crimes involving stalking. 31 have already resulted in detections. The force is helping promote National Stalking Awareness Day (April 24) , helping distribute information about the sources of advice and assistance for people who are being stalked or harrassed. Detective Superintendent Paul Furnell said;
“This year’s national theme is about harassment and stalking in the workplace, and the aim is to help eliminate this, providing information to employers about how they can support employees who disclose stalking behaviour.
Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner Katy Bourne said;
“Stalking is an appalling crime that destroys lives. The impact on victims is significant as I know from personal experience. “I fully support any initiatives that encourage victims of stalking to report it and get the protection they need so they do not have to live in fear. I was fortunate but others might not be so lucky.”
Since November 2012 stalking has been a specific crime under the Protection from Harassment Act 1997. There are two offences – one of ‘stalking’, triable at Magistrates Court only, and one of ‘stalking involving fear of violence or serious harm or distress’. This more serious offence could be tried at Crown Court with a maximum sentence of five years’ imprisonment.
“All officers and staff who come into contact with the public have received training and briefings on how to use this legislation, alongside their existing powers. “We recognise that stalking and harassment can have a significant effect on victims and their families. The constant fear of harm or just the thought that they will not be left alone, and the potential for harm can lead to a victim feeling isolated, erode self-confidence, cause paranoia and lead to a complete change of lifestyle.The consequences of this criminal behaviour for the victim can be huge.”
For further information about the Awareness Day and how employers can help see – www.stalkinghelpline.org– phone 0808 802 0300 For further information about stalking on the Sussex Police website see – http://www.sussex.police.uk/help-centre/ask-us/harassment,-stalking-and-bullying If you want to talk to the police about a stalking or harassment issue, dial 101 or email [email protected], or in an emergency dial 999 at any time. If you don’t want to talk to the police, or your employer, talk to someone. These organisations can also help: The 24 hour National Domestic Violence Helpline on 0808 2000 247 http://www.nationaldomesticviolencehelpline.org.uk/ West Sussex – WORTH on 0330 222 8181 http://www.worthservices.org/ Brighton & Hove- RISE helpline on 01273622822 http://www.riseuk.org.uk/ East Sussex Domestic Abuse Service on 0844 225 0657 Broken Rainbow – LGBT Domestic Violence Helpline 0n 0300 999 5426 – http://www.brokenrainbow.org.uk/ Men’s Action Line on 0808 801 0327 – http://www.mensadviceline.org.uk/>