New help available for victims of stalking
From Windsor & Eton Express:
Victims of stalking will receive specialist support through a new Thames Valley-wide programme.
The Thames Valley Stalking Service will provide specialist support to victims of stalking across Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire.
It provides emotional and practical support and advocacy to victims of stalking, supporting victims who have experienced any stalking behaviours – not just stalking from ex-intimate partners.
It being delivered by charity Aurora New Dawn, ‘who have proven expertise.’ It will deliver independent stalking advocacy caseworker support to victims.
Aurora New Dawn has been awarded £120,000 a year until March 2025 by Thames Valley’s Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC), Matthew Barber, to deliver the service
Mr Barber said this scheme was ‘a key part’ of his strategy launched last year to improve the safety of women and girls.
“Stalking can affect every area of a victim’s life with stalking behaviours potentially experienced over long periods of time, leading to emotional and psychological distress and fear,” he said.
“It is important that victims get the support they need to cope with the impact on their lives and move forward.
“This may include helping them cope emotionally, practical safeguarding advice as well as advocacy and guidance to empower them and help them feel safe as they navigate the criminal justice process.”
Aurora New Dawn chief executive Dr Shonagh Dillon said: “Victims of stalking need long term support outside of the criminal justice system – far too often, responsibility falls primarily to police officers who have to navigate stalking scenarios without professional support from trained experts.
“This partnership enables us to work with victims and professionals to ensure that everyone gets the best support possible, in a way that has not previously been available to stalking victims in the area.”
Victims First is working with the Thames Valley Stalking Service to manage referrals into the service.
Its officers will work with the victim to carry out an assessment and determine the best support to meet their needs.
The service will also accept referrals by professionals working with victims of stalking.
Anyone needing support can access the service by calling Victims First on 0300 1234 148 or by completing an online referral form at www.victims-first.org.uk
By Adrian Williams