Vera Baird

0191 221 9800

[email protected]
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PCC supports National Stalking Awareness Week

16th April 2018

This week marks the start of National Stalking Awareness Week, championed by the Suzy Lamplugh Trust.

Here in Northumbria we’re getting behind the campaign and are looking to encourage victims of stalking to come forward and report what they’re experiencing to the police.

We want to make sure everyone knows about #ReportingStalking and that no one should live in fear of another person. 

A new service for victims

In 2017, Dame Vera secured £646,287.18 in Home Office funding from the Violence Against Women and Girls transformation fund.

Part of this funding has been used to create a specialist team within Northumbria Police that will investigate cases of cyber-based stalking and harassment.

Like traditional stalking, many victims of cyber stalking are in abusive relationships with partners who are monitoring their behaviour. Some of this monitoring may be very obvious – such as when a victim is forced to hand over their mobile to have their texts or social media posts checked.

But digital technologies can also enhance the controlling behaviour of a partner (or ex-partner) in less obvious ways – such as allowing them to install spyware that will help them to locate a mobile phone (and its user), listen in to its surroundings, access a log of calls made and received and get copies of any messages or emails that have been sent – all without the victim’s knowledge or consent.

The Northumbria team is designed to help victims of domestic abuse who believe this may be happening to them or who are being routinely abused and harassed by technological means. The detectives will use forensic analysis of social media, email and other online communications to identify patterns of behaviour, ultimately helping to safeguard victims from coming to further harm. They will also offer access to a specialist worker who can offer a range of information and support, as well as access to a range of wider services.

The team will run on a pilot basis for 18 months, focusing on crimes in the Sunderland area with the specialists sharing their expertise with call takers, neighbourhood teams, detectives  and safeguarding officers from across the Northumbria area to help with the early detection of crimes.