Victims of stalking are urged to speak out during week dedicated to raising awareness of the crime

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During a week dedicated to raising awareness of stalking, police are urging victims to come forward and access the help and services on offer.

This week, Herts Police will also be issuing daily key messages and facts about stalking.

National Stalking Awareness Week is organised by the Suzy Lamplugh Trust and marks the fifth anniversary of the National Stalking Helpline.

Det Superintendent Paul Maghie said: “Stalking is a terrifying crime which has a major impact on victims.

“It can create fear and paranoia and victims will often feel violated and distressed. We fully support anything that can raise awareness of this crime, which can be so subtle to begin with but unfortunately can lead to something sinister.

“The key to protecting victims and alleviating the fear and harm is through people having the knowledge of what stalking is and what to do about it.”

Stalking is defined as repeated, unwanted intrusions into the victim’s life that cause them to feel scared or distressed. It doesn’t have to include threats of violence and will usually be carried out by someone the victim knows.

It isn’t a ‘one off’ crime - it’s a series of incidents which, taken in isolation, can appear trivial but put them together and they become far more sinister.

Herts police and crime commissioner David Lloyd said: “Stalking and harassment can ruin lives and create a complete sense of fear and paranoia for victims. Nobody should ever have to suffer this type of abuse from another individual. I would urge victims to speak out – help is available.”

Herts Police can be contacted via the non-emergency number 101 or, to seek advice and guidance, call the National Stalking Helpline on 0808 802 0300 or e-mail advice@stalkinghelpline.org.

It can create fear and paranoia and victims will often feel violated and distressed.

Det Superintendent Paul Maghie