In 2011 Jennifer Perry, a cyber stalking expert, suggested that Network for Surviving Stalking (NSS) should undertake a project to produce a set of guidelines for victims to help them understand and learn to deal with the day to day risks posed by stalking through digital technology. Towards the end of the project Women’s Aid came on board to provide their expertise and guidance.
Nicola Harwin CBE the Chief Executive of Women’s Aid confirmed that stalking was a frequent aspect of domestic and sexual violence and that in recent years stalking victims had been subject to abuse by increasingly high tech means. She voiced her concerns of the increasing opportunities for abusers to use technology to their advantage to continue to try and control and terrorise their victims. She stated that the guidance to be published as part of the project would hopefully enhance the safety of all victims of abuse and to provide continued protection as technology develops in the future.
According to the Home Office 9.3% of men and 18.7% of women have been victims of stalking since the age of 16.
Characteristically offenders fall into the following categories:
39% partners or ex partners
36% known people (date, friend, acquaintance or colleague)
4% family members
(Source: UK Home Office January 2011)
Stalking by ex partners therefore accounts for the largest group of victims with the majority of victims being women. 80% of the women stalked by ex partners suffered physical assaults whilst in the relationship.
The Metropolitan Police have found that 40% of domestic violence and murders were also victims of stalking (ACPO Homicide Working Group 2003).
This group of stalking victims needs to ensure proper precautions are put in place as the stalker often has a great deal more personal information and knowledge of the victim. They also have greater opportunity to access the victim in view of the fact that they may still be cohabiting or if no longer living together may share friends, financial assets or caring responsibilities.
See future articles for more in depth guidance on digital stalking and the risk for victims.
If you wish to speak in confidence to Melanie or Tanya, please contact us.