This year’s National Stalking Awareness Week, established by Action Against Stalking (AAS) in 2012 in collaboration with partners across the UK, will take place from April 20-25.
This year’s National Stalking Awareness Week has the theme See Stalking Clearly. Events across the week aim to increase public knowledge of this devastating crime and to direct victims to seek assistance through support agencies and resources such as the national stalking helpline (0808 802 0300), run by the Suzy Lamplugh Trust.
In 2020, National Stalking Awareness Week aims to:
• Raise awareness of what constitutes stalking;
• Direct victims to the correct support services;
• Give victims confidence in the justice system;
• Reinforce the zero-tolerance message on this crime. Marking 10 years of stalking as a crime
As the umbrella group campaigning against stalking and supporting the rights of victims across the UK since its original formation as the campaign Action Scotland Against Stalking in 2009, AAS now works in partnership with stakeholders as part of the Scottish National Stalking Group.
Two significant anniversaries will also be marked in 2020:
• 10 years since the original Action Scotland Against Stalking campaign successfully led to a change in Scots law to recognise stalking as a crime*.
• 10 years since the foundation of the national stalking helpline by the Suzy
Lamplugh Trust, a confidential resource for stalking victims;
To mark the decade since the legislative change in Scotland – and to continue focusing its crucial work on raising public awareness of this menacing behaviour – AAS has launched a significant new fund-raising campaign, £10 for 10.
The money raised will allow AAS to expand its training program and workshops for support groups and organisations that help stalking victims.
Victims don’t need to face the ordeal alone :
Ann Moulds, founder and CEO of AAS, said: “National Stalking Awareness Week has even greater relevance this year. In the unique circumstances of a global pandemic that has led to people being confined to home, victims of stalking behaviour may feel even more isolated and alone, while perpetrators may feel emboldened.
“AAS and other agencies are working tirelessly to empower victims and increase public understanding of this devastatingly personal but often misunderstood crime.
“Let me reassure anyone suffering at the hands of another person or persons – you do not have to face this alone.”
For more information on this release, contact:
Frances Traynor, communications support on behalf of Action Against Stalking 07754-477239 or Frances.Traynor@uws.ac.uk
Additional information: AAS to host a virtual event
On Wednesday, April 22, AAS hosted a virtual event featuring contributions from Humza
Yousaf MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Justice, and Rona Mackay MSP, who is sponsoring a Scottish Parliament bill to introduce stalking protection orders. The virtual event replaced the Holyrood reception due to coronavirus lockdown.
The broadcast can be viewed through the following channels :
You Tube : https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCuVeOYM1wRbnqG1ksn-wh8w to watch this: like /subscribe
Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/ActionAgainstStalking to watch this like the page.
http://www.legislation.gov.uk/asp/2010/13/section/39/enacted https://www.suzylamplugh.org/pages/category/national-stalking-helpline https://www.scotland.police.uk/keep-safe/personal-safety/stalking https://www.mygov.scot/victim-support-stalking/
• More than 11 per cent of adults in Scotland say they have experienced at least one type of stalking or harassment (Scottish Crime & Justice Survey) 2017-18).
• The most common type of stalking and harassment affected 7.5 per cent of adults and involved unwanted messages sent by text, email or messengers, and posts on social media.
• 50 per cent of respondents knew their stalker.
• 41 per cent of respondents said their stalker was someone they had never met.
• Most incidences of stalking or harassment are not reported to the police.
• Those aged 16-24 were more likely to be victims of stalking or harassment than any other age group (19 per cent).
• Women are more likely than men to report being followed or receiving unwanted messages by text, email, messenger or posts on social media.
Interview with Ann Moulds, CEO of Action Against Stalking
10 years of championing the rights of the victims of stalkers:
Ann Moulds spent three years in fear and terror of an unknown stalker who made her life hell and forced her to flee her home. She has now spent the last 10 years persuading politicians to change the law on stalking and to raising awareness of this most direct yet often impersonal of crimes. Today the charity she founded – Action Against Stalking – continues to set the agenda on championing the rights of the victims of stalking.
National Stalking Awareness Week, from April 20-24, is one legacy of her decade-long fight to keep stalking and its effects in the public eye.
Ann says: “I had no idea 10 years on that I would still be immersed in trying to help the victims of stalking. We’ve come a long way, but we still have a long way to go.
“Most people don’t really have a clear idea of what stalking actually is. Police Scotland look at the behaviour that is fixated, obsessive, unwanted or repeated, and they can take action as soon as there are two incidents that fall into those categories.
“Generally, stalking is not a physical crime but a psychological one. There are few overt threats. Instead, a person’s normal life is eroded because they are on the receiving end of continual texting, calls or messages or following.
“It’s all designed to unsettle and that is the crime. So we have work to do in raising awareness of stalking behaviour and of helping victims realise this can be dealt with by the police and the courts.”
Targeted by obsessive behaviour :
Ann speaks from the heart and from bitter personal experience on the subject of stalking. For several years, she was targeted by obscene letters and items sent through the post, terrorised by silent phone calls.
When her stalker – a man she barely knew – was finally arrested and convicted, he was placed on probation, ordered to do community service and listed on the sex offenders’ register for just three years.
Ann channelled the anger she felt at that lenient sentence into forcing a change in Scots law to make stalking a specific crime and to promote rights for victims giving them a place and a voice within the criminal justice process.
She says: “Stalking is something that comes into a person’s life suddenly and brings with it terrible uncertainty and fear. I see parallels with the current situation we are living in, where the coronavirus pandemic has thrown our lives into turmoil overnight.
“Victims of stalking often don’t realise when this behaviour started or and they certainly do not know when it will end.
“Unfortunately, stalking behaviour will not stop during this period of lockdown and social distancing. In fact, many victims will feel even more isolated and afraid.
“This is the challenge we face. We must ensure anyone targeted by this kind of behaviour does not feel they are facing it alone, that help is only a call or a click away.”
Change in the law brings hope :
Running a charity is a full-time job, but Ann finds time to combine her campaigning and fund-raising work with AAS with running her own business in her home town of Ayr. She has put her professional background in psychology and clinical psychotherapy to good use in persuading politicians to back her campaign to change the law and in designing and delivering training for victim support services.
In 2010, after campaigning and intense lobbying by AAS’ predecessor, Campaign Action Scotland Against Stalking, the Scottish Parliament introduced a specific crime of stalking in Section 39 of the Criminal Justice & Licensing (Scotland) Act 2010.
Last year, AAS worked with Rona Mackay, the Member of the Scottish Parliament (MSP) for Strathkelvin and Bearsden, to propose a law change that will give the police the power to apply for a Stalking Protection Order (SPO) on behalf of complainants.
And later this year, the charity’s Victim Impact Box, a toolkit that connects victims with the criminal justice and victim support system, will be launched as a digital aid and vital resource.
Toolkit puts victim back in control :
Ann says: “We devised the Victim Impact Box in 2011 to provide an interface between victims and the system.
“It’s based on cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and gives an individual all the tools they need to manage the situation they find themselves. Managing the situation lets them continue to lead a normal life because the tools help with the fear response.
“For example, a resource booklets them log every incident. From that, they can see how they are altering their life and map how their own behaviour is changing. The information in the Victim Impact Box allows them to create their own safety plan so they can continue to go out, to work, to be in public places.
“The Victim Impact Box is a way for a victim to regain some control. And this also helps when they report stalking behaviour to the police because their resource book has allowed them to list incidents in chronological order. That identifies a pattern of offending or threatening behaviour that assists with the prosecution.” The next 10 years?
Having devoted the last decade to championing the rights of stalking victims, Ann intends to keep pushing for more prosecutions and greater public awareness of the crime. She says: “We have achieved a lot with the help of the victim support agencies who offer direct help to victims and with the help of police and prosecutors.
“But stalking is still a hidden crime to many. Raising public awareness of the types of behaviour that make up stalking is our big challenge. It’s one we’re ready for.”
Action Against Stalking founder and CEO Ann Moulds fact file
• Founded Campaign Against Scotland Against Stalking in 2009 after enduring a twoyear ordeal at the hands of a stalker.
• CEO of Action Against Stalking since 2014.
• In 2010, Ann’s efforts helped change the law in Scotland and stalking become a criminal offence for the first time under Section 39 of the Criminal Justice & Licensing (Scotland) Act.
• She took her campaign to England & Wales and two new offences of stalking were then introduced into the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012.
• In 2011, Ann’s work led to the introduction of the European Council’s Istanbul Convention Sec 34. Ratified in 2014, this convention requires EU member nations to introduced a specific offence of stalking in their national criminal law.
• In 2011, Ann founded and launched the Scottish National Stalking Group (SNSG), a multi-agency national forum that takes a proactive and innovative approach to dealing with stalking victims.
• Ann launched the civil justice campaign Restoring the Balance of Justice in 2014 with solicitor Kim Lesley, a partner at Digby Brown LLP, one of Scotland’s largest law firms.
• Inspired by this, campaigners in England and Wales launched their own Restoring the Balance of Justice project in September 2015, creating a UK national initiative.
• For her pioneering work, Ann has received a string of national and international awards, including the Emma Humphries Memorial Prize, the Scottish Politicians’ Campaigner of the Year Award, the SCVO Campaign of the Year Awards, the Suzy
Lamplugh Trust National Personal Safety Award’s Most Inspiring Individual and the Association of Scottish Business Women Inspirational Women Award. In 2014 she was nominated as Scotswoman of the Year.
Action Against Stalking fact file :
• AAS is the only charity in the UK that champions and supports stalking victims.
• Founded by Ann Moulds in 2009 as Campaign Action Scotland Against Stalking.
• As CEO, Ann successfully campaigned to have stalking recognised as a specific criminal offence in Scots law in the Criminal Justice & Licensing (Scotland) Act 2010.
• In 2012, Ann worked to introduce two new offences of stalking into the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012 in England and Wales.
• She then helped introduce stalking into the Council of Europe’s European Convention to Combat Violence Against Women and Domestic Violence.
• AAS now delivers specialist training to professionals and organises awareness-raising campaigns on the causes and impact of stalking.
• Internationally, AAS is working towards a cohesive global response to stalking, liaising with experts in Portugal, Sweden, Denmark, the United States, Australia and Japan.