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Government gives police new powers to protect victims of stalking… Tech Abuse: Stopping the Stalkers

I’ve got fucking hundreds of stalkers… Male and female… A cult of stalkers… They stalk your family, parents, grandparents, nephews, friends, associates, ex romantic partners, current romantic partners… I said to the police, “I’m being stalked by dozens of women, taking photographs of me” and he said “take it as a compliment”

Would you say that to a woman reporting gang rape? Fucking idiot.

The reason the police refuse to investigate is because some of their own officers are invovled.

Government gives police new powers to protect victims of stalking

Powerful new orders coming into force as of 20 January 2020 will enable police forces to better protect victims of stalking.Published 19 January 2020From:Home Office and Victoria Atkins MP

Minister for Safeguarding and Vulnerability, Victoria Atkins, at the Suzy Lamplugh Trust.

New Stalking Protection Orders (SPOs) will allow courts in England and Wales to move quicker to ban stalkers from contacting victims or visiting their home, place of work or study. This will grant victims more time to recover from their ordeal.

In addition to banning perpetrators from approaching or contacting their victims, SPOs can also force stalkers to seek professional help.

According to the Crime Survey for England and Wales, almost one in five women over the age of 16 have experienced stalking, as well as almost one in ten men.

The Orders will usually last for a minimum of 2 years, with a breach counting as a criminal offence that can result in up to 5 years in prison.

Minister for Safeguarding and Vulnerability, Victoria Atkins said:

Every year, thousands of people live with the terrifying experience of being stalked, which can lead to victims feeling isolated, abused or even losing their lives.

I am determined that we do everything we can to better protect victims and new Stalking Protection Orders will help the police to intervene and take action against perpetrators at the earliest opportunity.

In addition to the SPOs, courts will also be able to impose an interim SPO to provide immediate protection for victims while a decision is being made.

SPOs will come into effect on Monday 20 January and have the support of anti-stalking campaigners and law enforcement.

Suky Bhaker Acting Chief Executive of The Suzy Lamplugh Trust said:

Today is an important step forward in the way stalking is handled in England and Wales and an acknowledgement of the suffering victims of stalking can face.

We welcome the introduction of Stalking Protection Orders and hope to see the new order complement the existing legislation to ensure that victims receive a proactive response when they come forward and report stalking.

Professor Clive Ruggles of the Alice Ruggles Trust said:

The Alice Ruggles Trust is working hard to make stalking victims more aware of the dangers they face and to come to the police earlier than many do at present.

Stalking Protection Orders represent a powerful new tool to help the police respond in the right way when they do. It is critical, though, that there is no delay in arresting perpetrators who breach them: any other response may well escalate the risk to the victim.

We believe that the existence of SPOs could have made a critical difference in Alice’s case, and will help improve the outcome for many others in the future.

Head of the Association of the Police and Crime Commissioners, Katy Bourne, said:

Stalking is an insidious crime that takes over and destroys lives. It is vital that those affected can feel confident in reporting, knowing that early action will be taken and that the law is on their side.

These Stalking Protection Orders will allow police to apply for restrictions on the behaviour of perpetrators, excluding them from entering a particular area or from making contact with their victim in any way.

It will be a criminal offence to break the terms of an order which, I hope, will become a substantial deterrent and a way to enforce the law without adding unnecessary strain upon the victim.

Alongside the introduction of Stalking Protection Orders, the Home Office also helps fund the National Stalking Helpline, run by the Suzy Lamplugh Trust. The Home Office has provided £4.1 million over the last 3 years to the Metropolitan, Hampshire and Cheshire police forces as part of the Multi Agency Stalking Intervention Programme, which provides interventions with stalking perpetrators.

Tech Abuse: Stopping the Stalkers – Tonight

cyber stalking
Victims of cyber stalking have been telling ITV Tonight their stories. Credit: ITV News

It’s a chilling and deeply disturbing trend and incidents appear to be growing at an alarming rate.

In the sinister world of domestic abuse and coercive control, perpetrators have a new way of terrorising their victims – technology – and figures show tech abuse is becoming a stalker’s weapon of choice.

Research by the Tonight programme shows an 1800% increase in alleged cyber stalking offences between 2014 and 2018.

It can be a subtle as turning the heating up or down, switching lights on and off, remotely – or as blunt as hurling abuse over social media.

Extreme examples can see stalkers steal bank account and credit card details, use online passwords to control social media profiles and has sometimes seen victims killed by their stalker.

One victim, Natalie, tells presenter Julie Etchingham how her ex-husband sought to control her life through technology.Play Video

“He’s very convincing and charming,” she says. “So it’d be like ‘Oh, do you want to use this? It will be much easier…’

“So it kept a record of all my messages on the computer, but because he was also using the computer, he could reply and he could see when messages had come in.”

He soon uploaded an app to her mobile that could check in and get a snapshot of where she was at all times.

She adds: “It would sit there in the background and it would take a picture and send it to him…and coordinates of exactly where I was.”

She says he also installed cameras in the home to follow her around the house, spying on her in various rooms.

Natalie says that while police officers are experienced in dealing with ‘traditional’ cases of domestic abuse and domestic violence, cyber stalking and using technology to control someone’s life is new to them.

“The manipulation, you know, the psychological programing it has a huge effect,” she says, “because it’s relentless. It’s a constant window into your life. It’s a constant way of checking where you are.”

Lamplugh
The Suzy Lamplugh Trust says police should stop treating stalking as harassment. Credit: ITV

In the last year, domestic violence charity Refuge has documented over 4,000 people who said they’ve experienced tech abuse – that’s three-quarters of people who have used their services.

In 2017, an inspection into the way police dealt with stalking cases found they often failed to recognise stalking, and would incorrectly log it as harassment.

This mistake can be costly as the Suzy Lamplugh Trust explains: “It’s really dangerous for police to be treating stalking cases as harassment because what essentially happens is that the key component of stalking, that fixation and obsession doesn’t end up being addressed.”

Another victim, Lara, tells Julie how her controlling partner used to take over the heating of the home they shared – through his phone – turning it down whenever he wasn’t there.

“I came for a home, but I ended up in a house that it was like a prison, his prison,” she says.

“It took couple of weeks for me to understand that he was turning the heating off from afar.

“I felt scared but I wanted something just to prove what he was doing, because I thought I was going crazy.”Play Video

While most stalking cases involve current or former partners, technology is also providing a path for more random, anonymous stalkers to thrive; preying on others they have never met other than through social media.

Writer Paul was deluged on Twitter with homophobic abuse: “At the height of it, I was getting sort of 20, 30, 40, 50 tweets a day.

“Whenever I heard my phone pinging my first feeling was that sinking feeling in your stomach and that sort of cold dread of what’s it going to be now?”

While he blocked the anonymous abuser, it didn’t stop. Anyone he came into contact with through social media could find themselves receiving abuse.

He eventually reported the abuse to police and a woman was later given a suspended two-year jail term and issued with a restraining order.

In 2018, MASIP (Multi Agency Stalking Intervention Programme) was launched and aimed to improve responses to stalking across the criminal justice system and the health sector through rehabilitative treatment of stalkers with units in London, Hampshire and Cheshire.

Detective Inspector Lee Barnard, who runs the London unit, tells the programme that he believes it’s increasingly clear tech plays a big role in stalking cases.

He says: “More than any other offence type that I’ve investigated in my service, stalking is probably the most impacted by technology.

“If we’re in the business of tracking human beings, there’s a huge array of technological devices out there, apps, software that can assist with that.”Play Video

  • Tech Abuse: Stopping the Stalkers – Tonight airs on ITV at 7.30pm

If you think you’re being stalked or cyber stalked, you can find help here:

If you want to secure your devices, you can do it here:

  • Cyber Care – 07496 955219 or info@cybercare.org.uk

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