“There very soon comes a time in stalking/harassment crime when SOMEONE has to do SOMETHING PRACTICAL to intervene. Only they don’t.” ‘Elaine’ of Bristol
We receive a whole variety of stories through our survey which is unsurprising given the breadth of anti-social behaviour. Of great concern, however, are two very similar stories we have read about stalking and the lack of support available to victims. One report comes from Birmingham, the other from Bristol. Both involve more than a decade of stalking. Both remain unresolved. According to ‘Elaine’ in Bristol, even her local Victim Support says there is no practical support available because Elaine still owns her house and is not a victim of domestic abuse.
The new Anti-Social Behaviour Act 2014 does not make this distinction and an owner-occupier should be just as entitled to support and assistance if suffering ASB as a Housing Association or Council tenant. Elaine speaks of local agencies just not wanting to know about stalking/harassment. She says they keep her running rings from one ‘helping’ agency to another and even accuses them of bullying and character assassination when trying to honestly report offences. “Nightmare doesn’t even begin to describe it,” she says. “Life is just not worth living anymore, everything has been taken away from me.”
She mentions how knowledgeable the National Stalking Helpline is but that they cannot do anything practically but “there very soon comes a time in stalking/harassment crime when SOMEONE has to do SOMETHING PRACTICAL to intervene. Only they don’t. ” With the similar case in Birmingham, we advised the victim to activate the Community Trigger. Unfortunately she was simply told ‘all procedures had been followed’ and was not invited to give her side of the story. Maybe all procedures had been followed, but if she is still a victim of stalking after 14 years, more surely needs to be done!
The Community Trigger is designed to empower victims to insist on a case review. The heart behind it is that victims will get respite from ASB. We sense this is true in only a small minority of cases. However, it is the tool that is available to victims and as such the course of action we would recommend to Elaine. Activate her local Community Trigger and push Victim Support to help give her a voice in the ensuing case review. If rejected and yet she is still being stalked, appeal the decision with her local Police and Crime Commissioner. We may be doubtful about how useful these tools are, but the more people who attempt to get results with them, the more data we have to show their success or where they need improving.