Nottinghamshire Police and Crime Commissioner Caroline Henry has announced the extension of funding to maintain a vital pilot service for victims of stalking.
The Stalking Advocacy pilot got underway in July 2019 to provide vulnerable men and women with access to specialist support and advice to help them through their experiences.
The service initially provided help for police referrals only but formally launched in November 2019 for any victim or survivor of stalking or harassment requiring help, regardless of whether they had reported their experience to police or not.
Commissioner Henry now plans to undertake a full review of the service and its impact and has committed funding worth £75,648 to maintain the pilot scheme between April 2022 and March 2023 – bringing total investment in the project to £243,946 since 2019.
The funding, announced in National Stalking Awareness Week (25-29 April), will ensure there is no loss of support for vulnerable people while the review is undertaken.
It comes as Commissioner Henry also signed up to the Suzy Lamplugh Trust’s Bridging The Gap campaign, committing to increase reports of stalking locally and nationally.
Currently, the Stalking Advocacy pilot is delivered between three providers – Juno Women’s Aid, which covers the city and south of the county, Nottinghamshire Women’s Aid, covering the north of the county, and Equation, providing support to male victims of stalking and training for professionals. Part-time specialist stalking advocates deliver support.
Announcing the continuation of funding, Commissioner Henry said: “I am proud to extend support for this project for another 12 months which will ensure vulnerable people can continue to access the help they need.
“I take the issue of stalking very seriously. These experiences have a devastating impact on victims, causing long-term psychological harm. This is why I have nearly doubled investment in this project since it was launched in 2019 – a clear sign of our commitment to tackling the problem.
“Our partners are highly trained and experienced in responding to trauma and we are pleased to be working in partnership with these organisations to provide meaningful practical and emotional help. I want to increase help and support for all victims of crime which is why I have recently commissioned a victim needs assessment to listen to the views of victims across Nottingham and Nottinghamshire and understand what I can do to improve services.
“I am determined to build trust in the criminal justice system and our support services so many more victims of stalking, and other crimes, report their experiences to the Police.”
The Stalking Advocacy pilot received a total of £42,250 in 2018-19, rising to £75,648 with the Commissioner’s latest funding agreement.
The pilot was initially extended as a result of the pandemic when Covid 19 restrictions reduced the number of referrals received. Support continued to enable victims to seek help once social distancing guidelines had been eased and for training to take place.
Nottinghamshire Police now has a dedicated lead for tackling violence against women and girls who will drive this work forward with the aid of better technology and training resources.
It has also introduced digital media investigators who are constables skilled in securing and extracting digital evidence to meet the demands of the increasingly online element to crimes.
Posted on Thursday 28th April 2022