Proudly Helping Clients in Sussex
Addressing the Impact
Stalking became a criminal offence on 25th November 2012. Stalking is not legally defined but may include contacting/attempting to contact, publishing images or material about the victim, monitoring the victim (including online), loitering in a public or private place, interfering with property, watching, or spying. This is a non-exhaustive list which means that behaviour which is not described above may also be seen as stalking.
Studies show that 75% of victims know their stalker in some way, but a stalker isn’t always a stereotypical jilted lover or jealous spouse. In fact, many stalkers may have no romantic interest in the victim, rather they see them as a possession to be owned or controlled. It is important to remember that being stalked is not your fault. Whether or not you know the stalker, whether or not you’ve had contact with them or have asked them to stop, no one has the right to invade your privacy or to make you feel uncomfortable or scared.
Rejected Stalker commences stalking after the breakdown of an important relationship that was usually, but not always, sexually intimate in nature. In this group the stalking reflects a desire for reconciliation, revenge, or a fluctuating mixture of both
Intimacy Seeker desires a relationship with someone who has engaged his or her affection and who, he or she is convinced, already does, or will, reciprocate that love despite obvious evidence to the contrary
Incompetent Suitor also engages in stalking to establish a relationship. However, unlike the Intimacy Seeker, he or she is simply seeking a date or a sexual encounter
Resentful Stalker sets out to frighten and distress the victim to exact revenge for an actual or supposed injury. Resentful are differentiated from Rejected Stalkers in that the cause of their resentment does not lie in rejection from an intimate relationship
Predatory Stalker engages in pursuit behaviour in order to obtain sexual gratification
The charity Women's Aid said improving understanding of domestic homicides could help save lives. Head of communications Teresa Parker said: "We know that controlling and coercive behaviour underpins the vast majority of domestic homicides, and this [is] why it is vital that we take non-physical abuse as seriously as physical abuse when considering a woman's safety.
THE CYBER HELPLINE TEAMS UP WITH SUSSEX STALKING SUPPORT
Building on its work to provide leading support for those experiencing cyberstalking & cyber-enabled stalking, The Cyber Helpline has partnered with Sussex Stalking Support (SSS). The alliance aims to improve support for victims of stalking and provide more effective expertise and insight into best practice dealing with cyberstalking.
Cyberstalking is a key issue for The Cyber Helpline with more than one fifth if its cases being either online harassment or cyberstalking. This has been a key focus for The Cyber Helpline team and partnership has proved an important strategy.
Sussex Stalking Support
Based in Brighton, Sussex Stalking Support provides stalking support services for advocacy, recovery and support across Sussex. It is one of the only organisations in the area specifically devoted to helping victims of stalking and are dedicated to raising awareness of the complex issues surrounding this crime. From peer support sessions to creative therapy groups, SSS provides ongoing trauma and support work to assist individual recovery.
This partnership opportunity came about through a mutual contact, namely Dr Emma Short at the National Centre for Cyberstalking Research at Bedfordshire University, who introduced Sam Taylor at Sussex Stalking Support to The Cyber Helpline’s CEO, Rory Innes. The Benefits of The Partnership in Supporting Cyberstalking Victims.
This is great news for victims of cyberstalking in Sussex, as it means they have access to both a cybersecurity expert who can tackle the online elements of the issue and also a stalking expert who can support with the wider stalking safety plan and offline elements.
There are also mutual benefits for both organisations including the sharing of knowledge, joint training, immediate access to specialist knowledge to deal with urgent online or offline threats and a joined-up approach to the development of new techniques for dealing with cyberstalking.
The partnership has enjoyed early successes with the two charities working jointly on a number of cases and referrals flowing between the two organisations.
Rory Innes said, “I am really excited by what this partnership means for cyberstalking victims in Sussex. We have deep expertise in cybersecurity and dealing with the online elements of cyberstalking, however, we are not stalking experts. This partnership will mean we can work as a team with stalking experts in Sussex and provide the best possible advice for victims.”
Sam Taylor, Founder at Sussex Stalking Support, said, “The opportunity to more effectively raise awareness of stalking and the cyber component it has is a vital benefit of the venture between the two non-profit organisations”. Taylor adds, “We believe the partnership will make us more effective in supporting victims of cyberstalking and the police tasked with tackling these crimes.”
CYBER STALKING STATISTICS: A BRIEF SNAPSHOT
Cyberstalking and cyber-enabled stalking are issues that plague the lives of many innocent people. The number of cyberstalking cases in England and Wales is alarmingly high, with around 59,000 cases per year, according to a recent crime survey.
Cyberstalking has a profound and lasting impact on the mental health of victims. 91% of cyberstalking victims reported mental health problems following their ordeals, according to a pilot study produced by Sussex Stalking Support in conjunction with several other organisations, including the National Stalking Consortium. The pilot study also found that 78% of victims of stalking suffered symptoms consistent with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) while only 24% received an assessment for PTSD from a medical practitioner. The report entitled ‘Key Finding From A Pilot Study Into Health Care Responses To Stalking: Implications and Recommendations’ can be accessed here.
The Future For Cyber Stalking Victim Support
Executives at the two organisations are keen to further the scope of the partnership, and they are ambitious about developing a symbiotic relationship.
“I can see us expanding into providing joint services to stalking victims in future, developing new approaches to deal with cyberstalking, and supporting each other with training and development,” announced Rory Innes.
Sam Taylor expresses her excitement about the promises shown by the partnership: “We’re in the early stages of setting up clinics and hubs to support victims of stalking. Initially, these will take place in Sussex, but we hope to expand the reach.”
Also, in early stages of the coalition, headway has been made in the development of The Cyber Helpline’s Cyberstalking Action Plan with Sussex Stalking Support providing insight from their unique perspective.
Indeed, the sharing of expertise will prove invaluable in supporting victims and law enforcement organisations in dealing with cyberstalking and the profound impacts it has on victims.
Support Our Cause
The Cyber Helpline is funded entirely by donations from generous members of the public and businesses. Without these donations, we can not continue our vital work in supporting victims of cybercrime, including victims of cyberstalking. Help us to keep The Cyber Helpline running and providing support to victims of cybercrime by donating monthly.
Cyberstalking as an extension of ‘offline’ stalking and is considered as online contact by stalkers with their victims as one of many tools in the stalker’s arsenal, rather than an isolated crime in itself. The majority of cases the National Stalking Helpline deal with involve elements of both online contact, for example emails or messages posted on social networking sites, and offline contact, for example sending gifts or following. Cyberstalking should be treated as seriously as stalking and we think there should be a consistent response to victims of stalking, whether the stalking takes place online or offline.
- Suzy Lamplugh Trust
NATIONAL STALKING HELPLINE:
KEEP ANY PROOF OF CYBERSTALKING. At a recent conference held by The Alice Ruggles Trust Karen Morgan-Read (Crown Prosecution Service Strategy Policy & Operations Division) delivered ‘Tackling Stalking Together’.
KEEP RECORDS OF CONTACTS ONLINE
KEEP SCREEN SHOTS
KEEP YOUR TEXTS AND EMAILS (OR COPIES)
A new evidence gathering app.
OnRecord have developed an effective way to gather evidence when you have a legal matter. This app is the first of its kind and it allows you to record, store and collate evidence.
Where stalking is taking place, you need to record as much evidence as possible to help the police where their intervention is needed. You might also need to keep records for CAFCASS and other agencies. Keeping records isn’t always easy, but this app is designed to help
To use it you need to get the App on your phone … because it is a new product we would love to hear your feedback if you use it.