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03/11/19 00:01

Funding to support and protect stalking victims

Two-thirds of victims experienced stalking via text and online.

A specialist charity that works to support stalking victims will receive government funding for the first time.

Action Against Stalking will use the funding to develop and deliver training for services and organisations that work with victims of stalking. As cases become increasingly complex, greater understanding of victims’ needs is required across the justice system and beyond.

The charity, which is the only stalking-specific victims service in Scotland, will receive more than £55,000 in 2019-20 to establish an office space and employ specialist staff.

More than one in ten adults experienced at least one type of stalking or harassment in 2016-17 and 2017-18 combined. Being sent unwanted messages by text, email, or on social media sites was the most common type of stalking and harassment reported.

Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf said:

“Stalking can be a traumatic crime for victims and social media can be exploited by stalkers to harass and track their victims from a distance, exacerbating its complexity. Victims are often vulnerable and have little escape, requiring an intelligent, compassionate approach to support from across the justice system and third sector partners, which Action Against Stalking can inform and deliver.

“We are stepping up our response to stalking with the needs of victims at the heart of our approach as we tackle more and more complex cases of stalking. This funding will ensure Action Against Stalking’s specialist support reaches more victims of stalking when they need it most.”

Ann Moulds, Chief Executive of Action Against Stalking, said:

“We are pleased to have received this funding from the Scottish Government. It provides an exciting and essential opportunity for Scotland to continue to lead the way in advancing the recognition of and response to stalking. This support will ensure Action Against Stalking has improved capacity to build on the excellent work that has already been achieved in this field and the sustainability to play an important role in addressing this crime and improving our response to victims.”

Background

Action Against Stalking emerged from the 2009 campaign ‘Action Against Stalking in Scotland’ which led to the introduction of a specific offence of stalking.

Funding for Action Against Stalking of £55,414 is part of the £18 million Victim/Witness Support budget for 2019-20.

The Scottish Crime & Justice Survey 2017-18 reported that in 2016-17 and 2017-18 combined 11.1% of adults experienced at least one type of stalking and harassment in the 12 months prior to interview. The most common type of stalking and harassment involved being sent unwanted messages by text, email, messenger or posts on social media sites. This was experienced by 67% of stalking victims.