This week marks one year since the launch of a flagship service for victims of stalking in West Yorkshire, run by the charity Victim Support and funded by the county’s Mayor, Tracy Brabin.
In its first year, the West Yorkshire Independent Stalking Advocate Service has supported over 350 people, offering specialist, individual support to high risk victims of domestic stalking – where the stalker is a partner, former partner or family member.
To mark the anniversary, Victim Support yesterday (Wednesday 18 October) hosted a conference at Leeds City Museum, with expert speakers brought in to raise awareness amongst local communities about the impact of stalking, and how to tackle it.
Speakers included the Mayor of West Yorkshire Tracy Brabin, Victim Support’s CEO Katie Kempen, Domestic Homicide Specialist Jane Monkton Smith, and Professor Clive Ruggles, whose daughter, Alice, was murdered by her former partner, after a relentless campaign of stalking.
The event also saw presentations from cyber stalking specialists and stalking charities including the Suzy Lamplugh Trust and Paladin.
Lesley McLean, Area Manager for Victim Support West Yorkshire, said:
“We are thrilled that we were able to bring so many people, and such prominent speakers, together to shine a spotlight on our service and raise awareness about stalking. We want to thank the Mayor of West Yorkshire, Tracy Brabin, for funding this much needed service, enabling us to help an incredible number of people who otherwise would have gone without support.
“If you’re experiencing obsessive, unwanted or repeated attention that is making you feel anxious or afraid, then you are a victim of stalking. Stalking can take place in person, over the internet or on social media – known as cyberstalking – and it can happen over an incredibly long period of time, making it particularly hard to cope with. We want all victims of stalking in West Yorkshire to know that this is not something you should have to live with or bear alone, and our team of specialist support workers are here to help.”
Tracy Brabin, the Mayor of West Yorkshire, said:
“Stalking destroys lives, as perpetrators try to shroud their victims under a cloud of fear, robbing them of life as they know it. But we’re committed, together with our partners, to turning the tide. We’re standing up for victims and survivors, providing essential support, and empowering them to rebuild their lives.”
People can access support from the service by calling 0300 373 0978 or emailing WY_ISAC_Service@victimsupport.org.uk. The service is open from 9am – 5pm Monday to Friday. Outside these hours, victims can contact the charity’s national 24/7 Supportline on 08 08 16 89 111.