16 Days of Activism – Day Ten
Shining a light on services
Changing Pathways is fortunate to have four trained anti-stalking case workers. Two of whom are accredited ISACs (Independent Stalking Advocacy Caseworkers) and have completed specialist training on stalking and best practice for stalking cases.
Across the South and South West of Essex Changing Pathways can support stalking victims; those being stalked by ex-intimates and also by non-intimates (such as strangers, acquaintances etc.) We currently have a dedicated ISAC, supporting high risk stalking cases and our frontline practitioners are all trained in stalking awareness and work with individuals subjected to stalking from their ex-intimate partners.
Stalking is still a very much misunderstood crime with people thinking that if you simply ignore the stalker, block them on your phone and social media that the stalker will stop. However, the nature of stalking is fixation & obsession so whilst some may be risk averse when told to STOP or LEAVE ME ALONE – the fixated stalker will continue undeterred.
Stalking survivors report feeling trapped and like they being hunted. Your every waking moment is interrupted by anxiety about being hurt, trying to stay safe, trying to stay sane and trying to continue your day-today life. Usually stalking victims have to change their routines, add extra security measures within and outside the home, may want to move, stop going out and their lives are gradually closed down by the perpetrator. This has a huge impact on a victim/survivor’s emotional and physical well-being. The perpetrator, on the other hand, has all the control and will dedicate a huge amount of time to the stalking. Most stalking victims report feeling very frightened.
Signs that you might be being stalked:
- Bombarded with unwanted texts, calls, emails, social media messages by e.g. an ex-partner, ex-colleague, acquaintance
- You are being followed by your ex-partner/acquaintance or other
- Your ex-partner or someone else (stalker) turns up at places you frequent e.g. same supermarket, then your GP, school run, workplace
- Receiving unwanted gifts from someone
- Damage to your property, car, house
- Tries to use other people around you to glean information about you
- And other unwanted obsessive behaviours.
When these are unwanted, repeated, fixated behaviours that cause you to fear violence or impact your daily life substantially then call 999 in an emergency, 101 to report a non-emergency crime and 01268 729797 and call it STALKING. Send one clear message to the stalker to say “stop contacting me” and then do not reply further. Do not change or block your phone as this can escalate risk and lose evidence. Keep a log/diary of all behaviours.
Changing Pathways is working with partner agencies to ensure there is a more robust response to stalking. Currently there are too many charges of “harassment” which should be stalking charges and so this negates the trauma and the substantial adverse impact on the victim.
Changing Pathways stalking case workers can help police and other agencies to get the response right the first time. As part of the National Stalking Consortium it is understood nationally that police, CPS, statutory and non-statutory agencies need to receive specific training on the crime of stalking.
If you would like to learn more about stalking, then please come along to our excellent CPD opportunity on 21 January 2020. You will learn more about stalking behaviours, the crime of stalking and best practice for working with stalking victims.