Police back stalking campaign

Police back stalking campaign

Published at 8:19am 21st April 2016. (Updated at 7:05pm 21st April 2016)

Victims of stalking in North Yorkshire are being urged to come forward, as police back a national campaign.

As part of National Stalking Awareness Week, officers are echoing the message that 'stalking counts' and assuring victims that the force take reports of stalking very seriously.

Whilst the law has been changed over recent years, the number of people reporting the crime nationally still remains low.

The definition of stalking is a pattern of repeated, unwanted behaviour which causes a person to feel distressed or in fear.

It does not necessarily mean that someone is violent towards another.

Detective Chief Inspector Andrea Kell, of the North Yorkshire Police Safeguarding Team, said: "Stalking is a very serious crime which can have physical, psychological, social and economic effects upon its victims. We take reports of stalking very seriously and would encourage anyone who is suffering at the hands of a stalker to come forward and speak to us.

"You do not have to live in fear and put up with this person's behaviour. There are steps that can be taken and a law that can be put in action to protect you and make this person stop, so you can live your life without fear or distress."

DCI Kell is also offering advice to victims to help them end the misery.

She said: "It's a good idea to gather any evidence you can of the stalking you are experiencing.

"Keep a diary of events and write down as much information as you can about the incidents, times and dates and document what is happening to you.

"Keep all evidence of any phone calls, e-mails and text messages and letters or gifts. Also take screenshots of any social media posts or pages, messages.

"Don't engage with your stalker and take any action you can to ensure your own personal safety - consider carrying a personal alarm or downloading a personal safety app to your mobile such as www.hollieguard.com

"Come forward and contact the police - you can dial 101 or attend your local police station. If you are ever in immediate danger, always dial 999.

"If you do not want to contact the police at this time, please seek out support from other agencies such as the National Stalking Helpline or speak to friends and family about what is happening to you.

"Don't suffer in silence."