Campaigner: Stalking awareness still needed in Gloucestershire
By Sarah Wood | 16th April 2018
During National Stalking Awareness Week (16th-20th April), the Hollie Gazzard Trust has identified that there still needs to be an increased awareness of stalking amongst both professionals and the public.
Only then can there be a robust and effective response to victims of stalking in Gloucestershire, according to the Trust. The view is wholly supported by Martin Surl, Gloucestershire's PCC and forms a strategic part of the Police and Crime plan for safer days and nights.
With support from Martin Surl, Nick Gazzard, the Chair of the Trust has been working with Gloucestershire Police on delivering a strategy for victims of stalking and was instrumental in the introduction of a stalking clinic. This clinic consists of a panel professionals and aims to reduce harm caused to victims by assessing the risks on an individual basis. The Trust also funds an independent stalking advocacy caseworker, who specialises in supporting victims of stalking, ensuring a coordinated response to stalking along with raising awareness.
Nick Gazzard (pictured with wife, Mandy) said: "Stalking is misunderstood, underreported and under recorded. It is imperative that we increase the awareness of what constitutes stalking with both professionals and the public in Gloucestershire and encourage individuals to report stalking and seek specialist professional guidance. A plan is also in place to deliver further specialised training to agencies and focused groups, along with rolling out a series of workshops on identifying stalking behaviours, raising awareness of the impact on the victim and undertaking safety planning.
"Stalking is one of the most frequently experienced forms of abuse is about fixation and obsession. It is a serious crime, and can destroy the lives of victims. It needs to be treated with the seriousness that it deserves and we need to continue to raise awareness of what constitutes stalking, how to intervene early, better protect victims and address perpetrators behaviour."
National figures released today (16th April) by personal safety charity, Suzy Lamplugh Trust, show that many police forces are still failing to recognise stalking and most victims are not able to access specialist support. Just seven PCCs nationally have commissioned services to work specifically with victims of stalking.
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