Victims of stalking can get greater support from six new cases workers from today.
The Safer Places charity is working closely with Hertfordshire Police to provide a unique Stalking Service, to keep victims safe and help to ensure that offenders are brought to justice.
Risk assessments, assistance in court, legal support and counselling will be included in the new service. The official launch is taking place in Rickmansworth this morning (Monday, 15th April).
Jan Dalrymple, Chief Executive of Safer Places, told BOB fm that stalking has a massive impact on lives: "We know that for high-risk victims of domestic abuse stalking is a factor in almost three-quarters of cases.
"Stalking closes down people’s lives, and they live in constant fear, questioning their sanity and often being disbelieved or at least not supported by those they might approach for help."
Jan continued: “This is a very serious matter because, in high-risk cases of domestic abuse at least, stalking behaviour is the greatest predictor of the victim being seriously harmed or killed.
"Hertfordshire is a great county where agencies work together and by working closely with the police, the university, the CPS and others we are confident we will be able to have a big impact on the incidence and impact of this terrifying crime."
Hertfordshire Police has already announced that they're training officers on new powers surrounding 'Stalking Protection Orders.'
The Stalking Protection Bill was passed by Parliament last month, with the orders available to courts to prevent so called 'stranger stalking' by imposing restrictions on offenders to stop their behaviour.
Police will be able to apply for them on behalf of victims and the perpetrator will be committing a crime if they breach them.
Detective Chief Inspector Stuart Cheek, head of the Constabulary's Domestic Abuse Investigation and Safeguarding Unit, told BOB fm: "The introduction of SPOs means we can impose the threat of criminal sanctions on perpetrators. Another useful tool in our armoury to protect victims of stalking sooner and reduce the risk of harm against them."
- To access Safer Places' ISAC services call 03301 025811 (24/7) or email firstname.lastname@example.org
- Victims of stalking can get advice from the Suzy Lamplugh Trust by calling the national stalking helpline (free from most telephones) on 0808 802 0300 or through their website.
- Further information about the Alice Ruggles Trust can be found on their website.
- Anyone affected by domestic abuse in Hertfordshire can get guidance and support via the Herts Domestic Abuse Helpline 08 088 088 088 or by visiting the Herts Sunflower website. In an emergency situation, always call 999.