A support service designed to protect the safety and mental wellbeing of victims of stalking has announced it is ready to take on new clients as the UK marks a national anti-violence campaign. The Stalking Advocacy Service, funded by Nottinghamshire Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) Paddy Tipping and the first of its kind in the county, is a pilot project which has been accepting referrals from Nottinghamshire Police, who run a monthly stalking clinic, since July.
The service, which helps both male and female victims of stalking, is being delivered by Juno Women’s Aid, Nottinghamshire Women’s Aid and Equation, which are working together to deliver a one-stop shop of support.
Until recently, victims and survivors whose stalking experiences did not form part of domestic abuse were denied access to specialist safety planning and emotional support. However, the PCC was determined to change the position by funding a bespoke support facility.
The Stalking Advocacy Service is able to support all victims and survivors of stalking, even if they have not reported their case to the police.
“Stalking poses a serious threat to the safety and emotional wellbeing of its victims,” said Mr Tipping.
“It is not a problem that can be swept under the carpet and nor should it be — painful lessons nationally have shown us that failing to act promptly can have tragic consequences for the victim.
“It is estimated that half of stalking victims experience post-traumatic stress disorder while others develop anxiety, depression and agoraphobia. For too long innocent victims have not only suffered fear but frustration with a system that is meant to protect them.
“It is vital we respond robustly and compassionately and give people the help they deserve, which is why I’ve funded this new service. Through our advocacy workers, we will ensure victims receive the best possible support to safeguard their futures and recover from their experiences.”
The PCC has provided funding worth £37,500 each to Juno Women’s Aid and Nottinghamshire Women’s Aid while Equation has received £9,480 to deliver support tailored to male victims as well as deliver a series of seminars for professionals to raise awareness of stalking and how to get help, which will be developed and rolled out from April 2020.
The funding has provided two part-time stalking advocates who have already helped victims with safety planning and other support.
The service has been funded as a pilot until December 2020. It will then be evaluated in the summer 2020 to inform future commissioning arrangements.
To access the service call the women’s helpline on 0115 947 6490, or the men’s Helpline on 0115 960 5556.