STALKERS DON’T STOP STALKING IN LOCKDOWN

Alone and in fear, Anne called police to report her ex-partner who was continually turning up at her new home (despite COVID19 lockdown), threatening to tell her family and boss she was gay, threatening to kill her, bombarding her with texts and emails more than 50 times a day, she even hacked Anne’s social media accounts,  pretended to be her and posted awful comments about Anne’s friends.  Anne felt totally alone and thought she was going mad.

Fortunately she was referred to the Stalking Support Service run by the locally based charity Protection Against Stalking (PAS). It was at this point Anne realised she was not alone.

PAS put Anne in contact with one of their professionally trained caseworkers who listened to her story…… She had first met her partner on-line, after 6 months they met and formed a relationship. They rented a flat together. The relationship was abusive and controlling from early on, Anne could only wear the clothes her partner  said she could wear, she was not allowed out on her own and she was continually undermined and ridiculed.  During this relationship Anne lost her confidence and felt very low. They had been together for two years when Anne decided to leave.

Anne moved in with a male friend and  the on-line stalking behaviour began the day after she left; threats to tell her family and boss she was gay, threats to kill her, bombarding her with texts and emails over 50 times a day, her ex-partner even hacked her social media accounts,  pretended to be her and posted really awful comments about Anne’s friends. Anne couldn’t understand why her ex-partner kept turning up at events she was attending, she was everywhere.  It was later found a tracker had been placed on Anne’s car.

Lockdown happened, her housemate had gone to his parents and Anne alone in her flat, she was feeling isolated in every sense of the term.  she was scared, living in fear, not sleeping and feeling really anxious. She couldn’t go out, even though lockdown was not deterring her ex-partner from turning up.  She thought she was going mad.

The Protection Against Stalking’s caseworker developed a safety plan with Anne and worked with the police, the Cyber Helpline, her employer, the courts and victim support to help her feel safe. Guidance was given on how to make her mobile devices secure,  she was assisted to make a successful application to court for a non-molestation order, counselling support through her company, security devices were also fitted to her flat.

As everyone was in lockdown the care, support and processes were all conducted online, by phone or on video calls.

Today Anne feels safer,  is more confident and feels less isolated. Her manager and caseworker are in regular contact with her and her counsellor is supporting her too.

COVID-19 has not prevented Anne getting the support she needed when she needed it. 

Anne says, “I am frightened because of the virus and on top of this worried that my stalker might turn up. Just knowing you are there for me makes all the difference”

If you think you are being stalked contact PAS at support@protectionagainststalking.org

For more information visit the website www.protectionagainststalking.org

If you are being stalked and you are frightened for your safety – dial 999.

Notes:

Stalking is a pattern of unwanted, fixated and obsessive behaviour which is intrusive, causes fear of violence or engenders alarm and distress in the victim.

It affects more than 1.6 million people in England & Wales every year

Despite lockdown and COVID-19 stalking will persist, behaviours may change but this does not mean risk will reduce. Fixation and obsession of perpetrators is unlikely to be affected by restrictions of lockdown. Behaviours are also likely to move online. Cyber-stalking places

Early Identification saves lives

  • Very few charities provide specialist stalking support and advice to victims in the UK
  • There is no other specialist stalking charity in Kent
  • 1 in 5 women and 1 in 10 men will be stalked
  • 94% of women murdered by a man were stalked prior to being murdered
  • 43% of stalking victims have not been in an intimate relationship with their stalker
  • 100 instances of stalking will be experienced before being reported to the police
  • Violence occurs in an average of 30-40% of stalking cases
  • 54% of stalking cases are linked to domestic abuse

To support PAS email office@protectionagainststalking.org