Case Studies

Suzy Lamplugh Trust: more to do against stalking

by Mark Rowe

More still needs to be done to reduce violence and aggression perpetrated in society, especially against women and girls. Despite the seriousness and prevalence of stalking, as with other crimes such as rape and sexual assault, this crime continues to be shockingly under recorded and under prosecuted. So said the charity the Suzy Lamplugh Trust, on the occasion of the 35th anniversary of the disappearance of the estate agent.

Suky Bhaker, chief exec of the Trust, said that despite improvements in the support available to victims of stalking and other forms of violence and aggression, there is so much more to do to reduce incidents of stalking and harassment and ensure the safety of victims. Suky said: “We are calling on the government today to address the prevalence of violence against women and girls in society and to take action. The shockingly low conviction rates for stalking leave thousands of victims without the protections they so urgently need to reduce the risks to their physical and mental health. It takes immense courage to come forward to report stalking behaviours which have a devastating impact on victims’ lives, and it is simply not good enough that so many cases fall by the wayside without attaining the justice victims need and want.”

More on the Trust website:

In a blog, the Victims’ Commissioner Dame Vera Baird called for a shift in the way that the UK deals with the crime of stalking as a whole. “We need effective use of risk assessments when a victim reports to police. We must also see good use of Stalking Protection Orders and for the Government’s VAWG Strategy to examine the shockingly low conviction rates for stalking and improve on these.”

She pointed to a recent research report by the Trust on stalking victims’ experiences during Covid-19; that found for example a rise in online stalking behaviours. A third (32pc) of respondents also reported a rise in offline behaviours, indicating the great lengths stalkers will go to contact their victims, potentially breaking lockdown restrictions, with victims most frequently experiencing an increase in spying (18pc), offline third-party contact (15pc), visiting home or work (13pc) and loitering (13pc). The increased anonymity provided by face coverings may even be used by stalkers to perpetrate in-person stalking.

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