Police record less than one per cent of stalking cases

Lily Allen's stalking ordeal has drawn attention to police failure


The number of stalking cases recorded by the police each year represents less than one per cent of all cases, according to new research.

The report — published today to mark the beginning of National Stalking Awareness Week — examines official responses to stalking, which affects an estimated 1,122,000 people each year.

Researchers from the Suzy Lamplugh Trust and National Stalking Consortium also found ‘an alarming discrepancy’ between police services in different regions.

Since 2013, only nine police commissioners have introduced services that specifically work with victims of stalking, and just 0.18 per cent of the total police budget for victims’ services for England and Wales was spent on stalking-specific projects.

Lily Allen has gone public with her own years-long experience of being stalked, in an in-depth interview with the Observer, published yesterday.

The singer-songwriter said that police made her feel ‘like a nuisance rather than a victim’ when she reported the behaviour, which included abusive rants, accusations and suicide threats. Eventually, the man — who has now been convicted of burglary and harassment —  broke into her home while she was sleeping.

Also today, the Women’s Equality Party (WE) and the advocacy organisation Paladin have called for ring-fenced funding for stalking support services, specialist-led training for criminal justice professionals, perpetrator treatment and a register for serial stalkers.

‘As Lily’s story illustrates, the justice system still does not fully understand stalking behaviours and risks,’ commented WE party leader Sophie Walker. ‘Lily carefully reported every single incident and collected evidence, but the police failed to join up the dots.’

Founder and Director of Paladin Laura Richards, commented that ‘one of the key challenges with stalking is that, taken in isolation, behaviours might seem unremarkable. However, in particular circumstances and with repetition, they take on a more sinister meaning.’

Niamh Ní Mhaoileoin is editor of Left Foot Forward. Follow her on Twitter.

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