Devon and Cornwall Police are reminding people not to suffer in silence and report any incidents of stalking, as part of National Stalking Awareness Day today.

As many as one in five women and one in ten men report being stalked at some point in their lives. Stalking is unwanted and obsessive attention by one individual towards another. It can involve persistent phone calls/texting, sending of gifts, following a person or damaging their property, plus with the increase of technology stalking can also take place online.

Victims of stalking often know their stalker and it could be an ex-partner, friend, colleague or an acquaintance.

If you are being stalked it is important to remember the following:

  • Report it and tell others – report it to the police and ensure other people know about it including your family, friends, neighbours, workplace, children’s nursery/school.
  • Ensure you get good practical advice - Contact the National Stalking Helpline 0808 802 0300 or call the police on 101.
  • Proactive evidence collection – Ensure you keep all messages/gifts etc. as evidence.
  • Overview of what is happening - Log what is happening including time, date and details of what happened.
  • Risk checklist - If you think you are at risk complete the stalking screening checklist If there are any positive responses from the Risk Checklist then report the matter to the police.
  • Trust your instincts – If you are frightened or worried call the police. Do not contact or respond to the stalker.

Detective Chief Inspector John Trott said: “Stalking is taken very seriously by the police and the National Stalking Awareness Day gives us the opportunity to raise awareness of the issue and provide people with some practical advice.

“As a force, we are now taking significant measures to improve support to victims of stalking. This includes extensive training for officers to raise their awareness and comprehension of stalking as well as introducing a dedicated senior officer responsible for increasing insight and understanding in this area.

“Our knowledge of stalking is increasing and the victim is our priority. We know the persistent unwelcome behaviour by a stalker causes extreme distress and fear for victims. It is very important for anyone who thinks they are being stalked to seek help immediately from the police so we can investigate the incident(s) and support them.”

Police will be using Facebook and Twitter to provide advice and support and aims to reach as many people as possible during the day.

For further advice and information call the National Stalking Helpline on 0808 802 0300 or contact Devon and Cornwall Police by calling 101.