|Wednesday 22nd April 2020
NATIONAL STALKING AWARENESS WEEK
Today marks the start of National Stalking Awareness Week (NSAW).
The theme of NSAW, See Stalking Clearly, has a clear message to ensure victims’ of stalking remain visible during the pandemic and that they are supported throughout the response to COVID-19 by police, the National Stalking Helpline and other services.
Stalking is a serious crime with serious consequences; causing victims fear and distress. It impacts on how they live their lives, how safe they feel, how they act and react.
Stalking is not the same as domestic abuse although it can often be a feature of it. Out of the nearly 900 stalking offences recorded last year, nearly 300 were committed against people who were not in a domestic relationship with the offender.
In these unprecedented times, perpetrators are likely to change their behaviour. With social distancing, self-isolation and increased reliance on digital devices, the threat of stalking behaviours moving into the cyber-space is heightened.
Every stalking situation is unique but all stalkers demonstrate FOUR distinct behaviours:
Fixated Obsessive Unwanted Repeated
Stalkers might be fixated on and obsessive about another person and their behaviours towards them repetitive and unwanted.
Behaviours can often form a course of conduct and, when stalking is reported to Police Scotland, we look at the evidence of incidents together rather than individually and we always take the victim seriously and look at the pattern of behaviour.
Stalking is stalking whether committed on or offline – Sec 39 Criminal Justice & Licensing (Scotland) Act 2010 outlines the offence. Victims can be subjected to unwanted calls, texts, messages, gifts or correspondence. It can include hacking into devices and installing tracking apps, taking control of someone’s social media profile or sharing or threatening to share photos, videos or personal information.
Significantly, stalkers rarely recognise their behaviour as stalking or that their attention is causing fear and distress. However, targeting and forcing unwanted attention on someone is criminal.
Stalking can affect anyone so it is important that we all look out for the signs and recognise the damage that the FOUR behaviours cause.
If you are concerned that you may be a victim of stalking, or that someone you know may be a victim of stalking, then please report it to Police Scotland either by calling 101, or using our online reporting form available via our website. In an emergency always call 999. For further information or advice please call the National Stalking helpline on 0808 802 0300.
Perth & Kinross Area Commander
After 30 years of public service Chief Inspector Ian Scott will be retiring from his position as Area Commander. From next week he will be replaced by Chief Inspector Graham Binnie. CI Binnie has a wealth of experience in both response and community policing and comes to this role following a successful period working in the area of public protection.