A new service supported by Cleveland Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) Steve Turner will give extra help to victims of stalking across Cleveland.
The Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner (OPCC) has funded two Independent Stalking Advocates (ISAs.)
They form part of a service operated by national stalking and personal safety charity the Suzy Lamplugh Trust.
The ISAs will work closely with Cleveland Police, victims’ services and partners – in particular those specialising in domestic abuse, sexual violence and violence against women and girls (VAWG.)
The new service will pick up referrals from the police and make sure appropriate support is in place. Support will focus on victim safety and meeting their needs.
The ISAs, who will be funded until March 2025, help victims navigate the criminal justice system to improve outcomes.
Additional money from the OPCC’s Victims’ Grant will also support stalking training for frontline police officers and partner agencies.
Training will help staff increase the number of stalking victims identified earlier. It will also help to improve victims’ access to specialist support.
High levels of Stalking
Cleveland PCC Steve Turner said: “Sadly, we know Cleveland has high levels of stalking offences. It’s important we ensure there is the appropriate specialist support in place.
“Agencies have to work together to help victims recognise what stalking is, how to report it and where to get help when it happens.”
Steve met with Steve Lingley, Interim Senior Services and Development Lead for the Suzy Lamplugh Trust, and Superintendent Helen Wilson, from Cleveland Police. They discussed a more strategic vision for tackling stalking across Cleveland.
Steve Lingley said: “We are delighted to be able to bring specialist stalking advocacy support services to victims of stalking across Cleveland.
“We are looking forward to impacting the overall response that victims receive across the area.
“We know that having a stalking advocate involved in a case dramatically increases the likelihood of a positive criminal justice outcome. It also improves the victim’s ability to feel – and be – safe.”
Superintendent Helen Wilson said: “We are pleased to welcome the two new roles of Independent Stalking Advocates.
“They will bring expertise in supporting victims of stalking, so that we can offer the right help and support throughout the judicial process and beyond.
“Our priority is to safeguard victims and bring those responsible to justice; but also to offer the appropriate support to victims so that they have the confidence to come forward and have access to any help and support they should need following such a traumatic experience.”
Victims can contact the National Stalking Helpline on 0808 802 0300.