Message from Humberside Police:
This week marks National Stalking Awareness Week 2021.
The theme this year is #UnmaskingStalking.
Whilst in lockdown, there has been an increase in offenders of stalking and harassment using phones and social media sites to target their victims. Since COVID-19 struck, 100% of cases on the National Stalking Helpline have cyber elements to them. Stalkers are relying on social media sites, spyware, and hacking devices to contact and monitor their victims.
If you feel you are being persistently harassed by another person who is causing you distress and fear by stalking you, help is available.
For more information and advice visit our website https://www.humberside.police.uk/stalking or contact the National Stalking Helpline on 0808 802 0300.
Are you a victim of stalking and harassment but not sure whether to report it to the police?
We asked Detective Inspector Mark Skelton of our Protecting Vulnerable People Unit about why it’s important to report your experience to the police. Mark said, “Absolutely people should report their experiences. If we can help in any way to make the abuse stop we will. Reporting it to us should be a priority.
“Stalking and harassment doesn’t have to mean it takes place ‘in person’ or involves being physically followed or threatened.
“In the Humberside Police area we have actually seen a decrease in stalking and harassment cases reported to us however it doesn’t mean we are treating it any less seriously.
“Most of what we are now seeing reported to us is online and virtual harassment and stalking which some people might just brush off and say ‘oh just ignore it’. We know it’s not always that easy and so I would always advise people to call us and report their cases to us.
“We have found that around one third of stalking (also called ‘malicious communications’) offences and almost all cases of harassment take place on social media sites. And in lockdown, we have seen an increase in perpetrators of stalking and harassment using phones and social media sites to target their victims, so people feel they just can’t escape the abuse.
“If you want help in making these offences to stop I would urge you to call us on 101, it’s the first step to getting the help you need to make the problem stop. We are always on hand to support you through the process and can help protect you from abuse. If you are in immediate danger always call 999.”
We know that many case go un-reported and as around 20% of stalking, harassment and malicious comms offences where domestic abuse has been highlighted between suspect and victim are committed over social media, due to the nature of the relationship.
Domestic abuse happens every day all over country, and affects people (predominantly women) of all ages, classes and backgrounds. It is a serious, widespread crime. It is not an individual issue but a social problem. We all need to speak out against it. If you are a victim of domestic abuse help is at hand – we can support you and get you the help you need. We have more information about how we can help with domestic abuse on our website: https://www.humberside.police.uk/domesticabuse
Detective Inspector Mark Skelton continues; “There are a number of ways in which to deal with stalking and harassment. We know it can be distressing but it’s important to save any records of messages or calls as this could be the important evidence that allows us to take action against perpetrators.
“I would urge people to take a look at the information on our website https://www.humberside.police.uk/stalking and the following national websites https://www.suzylamplugh.org/safety-online and https://paladinservice.co.uk/ on these websites people can find more information about what it is and how to protect yourself and others.”
If you are a victim of stalking and harassment call us on 101. If you are in any danger, always call 999.