Stalkers are fixated and obsessive offenders who will not stop.
Statistics show that one in six women and one in 12 men will experience stalking, but this is believed to be grossly underestimated.
And when they become victims, they do not tend to report to the police until the 100th incident.
Stalking victim Amanda Playle, from Bexhill, is urging people to take stalking seriously and not delay reporting as part of Sussex Police’s campaign in support of National Stalking Awareness Week, 8-12 April 2019.
Amanda, who believed she was being stalked by her ex-partner from 2015-2017, got in touch with Sussex Police after two years of being bombarded with text messages and emails which became abusive and relentless. The police investigation identified a shocking truth.
She said: “It was constant, all day, every day – at the worst point I was being contacted up to 300 times a day on Facebook, Whatsapp and email. The messages had turned abusive and threatening, and got out of hand when the stalker started messaging my daughter, my parents, my boss and my friends.
“People need to go to the police the moment they get a message they’re not comfortable with, or that turns nasty. These people don’t go away, you just need to make the first step to get help.”
The National Stalking Awareness Week this year focuses on the emotional and mental health impact on stalking victims, with the hashtag #StalkingStealsLives summarising the severity of the impact of trauma on victims’ lives.
As part of the campaign, Sussex Police is publishing a series of videos on Amanda’s story, showing how stalking can begin, spotting the behaviours of stalking and advice for victims including early reporting. These are being published on social media together with key safety and reporting advice and signposting to where people can access local support services.
If you are being stalked or harassed it is important that you report it. Stalkers are fixated and obsessive offenders who will not stop.
You can find further advice and support at https://www.sussex.police.uk/stalking
You can also report stalking or harassment online, or by calling 101 or in person at your local police station.
But always call 999 if you are in danger. Our officers and staff will undertake a risk assessment and focus on keeping you safe.