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Commissioner Commends Stalking Victim for Speaking Out

20th April 2015

Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner Vera Baird has commended the bravery of a stalking and harassment victim who has spoken out about her ordeal.

Commissioner Baird said it took the 45-year-old tremendous courage to come forward and tell people about her experience. She also hopes it encourages others to report harassment or stalking to police and to not suffer in silence.

The mother-of-one told her story to coincide with National Stalking Awareness Week starting Monday, April 20. This year’s national campaign is entitled ‘Is this stalking?’.

The woman, who wishes to remain anonymous, became a victim of stalking and harassment at the hands of her ex-partner after she told him she wanted to separate.

During their time living together, he was controlling, isolated her from her family and friends, insisted she agreed with him and reduced her self confidence. He would also throw things at walls and kick and punch doors. She took the decision to end things when his behaviour began to affect her daughter.

She said: “He was very angry when I left. He sent me over 300 texts and emails in just a couple of weeks at all times of day and night. He would sit outside my mum’s house and refuse to leave.

“He then started contacting my work, friends and family but it didn’t stop there. He damaged my property including slashing my bike seat and tyres and scratching my car. I had no way of proving it was him so unfortunately no action could be taken.

“He also accessed my email and Facebook accounts without my knowledge. Through this he would find out where I was going and had even bought tickets or made travel arrangements to go to the same things I was going to.

“I couldn’t go anywhere without looking over my shoulder for fear of him being there as he knew my routine and would often follow me. I changed my address, telephone number and email but every time I closed a channel of communication he would look for another. He would go to places to bump into people I know so he could speak to them about me. They would end up telling me they had seen him so even without seeing him he would always be there in my life in some way.

“I told the police about all of this and I can’t praise them enough for the support they’ve shown me through this whole experience. They took my concerns seriously and told me to keep contacting them whenever anything happened, no matter how small, so they could build up a case against him.

“It’s been a long process through the courts but he is now subject to a restraining order covering myself and my family. I am still cautious and look over my shoulder but I feel I can start to live my life again.

“I would say to anyone else suffering from this to speak to police or other support agencies – you will be taken seriously, you will be believed and you will receive help.”

Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner Vera Baird launched the Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) strategy, part of which focuses on stalking and harassment.

She said: “”This has been an extremely brave thing for this victim to do, coming forward and publicly recounting the experiences she had. I understand it must have been hard for her to relive this time in her life which she undoubtedly would rather put behind her.

“However I do hope in doing so she has given other victims the courage and confidence to speak to police if they too are suffering from the same or similar circumstances.

“Stalking and harassment can affect anyone irrespective of their sex, age or background.

“It can also come in many forms and is not always as obvious as someone repeatedly calling at a victim’s house or ringing their phone.

“It can be more subtle and include repeated unwanted gifts or approaches over the internet. Sometimes it may be someone the victim knows or other times a complete stranger.

“Whatever form stalking and harassment takes, the important thing to note is that there is help out there for those who are suffering from it.

“People should know there is support available to them from both the police and the criminal justice system as well as other support agencies.

“I would urge anyone being subjected to stalking or harassment not to suffer in silence and to come forward. They will be listened to, believed and helped to safety.”

Detective Superintendent Lisa Orchard, from Northumbria Police, added: “National Stalking and Awareness Day gives us a platform to let people know what this offence is and assure victims there is help available.

“Stalking is repeated, unwanted contact from one person to another which causes the victim to feel distressed or fearful. The impact is not only on the victim – it can stretch far wider with their friends, family, work colleagues and other people connected to them feeling the effects of stalking and harassment.

“The bottom line is, it’s a criminal offence and police will take action.

“Victims of stalking are often subjected to behaviour such as nuisance telephone calls, excessive emails, being followed, death threats, abuse on social networking sites, blackmail or even physical assault.

“We would always ask victims to come forward so they can receive the help and support they need and ensure the person giving them this unwanted attention is dealt with by police.”

Anyone suffering from stalking and harassment should contact police on 101, extension 69191. In an emergency call 999.

Help is also available via the National Stalking Awareness helpline 0808 802 0300.

Further advice on stalking and harassment can be found on the Northumbria Police website: