National Stalking Awareness Day

More than 300 cases of harassment were reported to police in Cambridgeshire in the past year, with many of the victims feeling stalked by the offender.

As part of today’s (April 18) National Stalking Awareness Day police are reminding people that help is available if you feel you are a victim of stalking.

Stalking is the term used to describe repeated communications, following or other intrusions of privacy.

In November, last year, changes were made to the Protection from Harassment Act 1997 making stalking a specific offence in the eyes of the law.

Detective Inspector Alan Page, who heads the domestic abuse investigation and safeguarding unit (DAISU), said: “There are strong links between stalking and domestic abuse, with a high percentage of stalking cases involving ex-partners.

“It can be a traumatic and terrifying experience for victims who often feel isolated and scared in their own home.

“Early intervention is essential to prevent this kind of behaviour escalating to serious offences. I would urge anyone who believes they are being stalked or suffering from harassment to contact police.

“We have specially trained officers who can offer advice and take preventative action against the offender to protect the victim.”

According to the British Crime Survey more than 2.1 million people are stalked each year.

DI Page added: “Traditionally when people think of stalking they think of a person being followed by there are many other forms it can take. For example, bombarding a person through social media sites, letters or phone calls or sending unwanted gifts.

“What may seem like an innocent infatuation could be something more concerning and if you have concerns it’s important to report them.”

To report stalking call police on 101, or in the case of an emergency always dial 999.

For information and advice about stalking contact the National Stalking Helpline on 0808-8020300 or visit http://www.stalkinghelpline.org/