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Derbyshire PCC funds stalking advocate positions

PCC Angelique Foster has committed to funding for two new Stalking Advocate positions across the next three years.

The two roles will represent £90k worth of investment across the agreed time period, and they follow funding for an internal Stalking Coordinator for the Constabulary. 

One of the advocates will focus specifically on the city of Derby and sit within services already provided for the force by domestic abuse support charity, Glow, while the other will look at the remainder of the county and will sit with another domestic abuse charity, Crossroads Derbyshire. 

The advocates will provide support for individuals (male and female) via an all-round package including emotional help, assistance with making a police report, housing advice and support through the legal process. They will also be helped with obtaining Stalking Prevention Orders and restraining orders. 

Meanwhile, the existing Stalking Coordinator has a greater focus on supporting the quality of investigations. 

In 2017, a national study by the Homicide Research Group at the University of Gloucestershire looked at 358 homicides of women in the UK. Stalking behaviours were present in 94 per cent of cases, surveillance activity in 63 per cent. 

The Suzy Lamplugh Trust’s report ‘Bridging the Gap’ found that less than one per cent of stalking victims are supported by specialist advocates due to limited capacity. 

Derbyshire has additionally said that stalking is one of the fastest growing crimes in the county. 

Police and Crime Commissioner Angelique Foster said: “Stalking and harassment have a devastating and deeply personal impact on their victims. In rare cases where perpetrators are convicted, few are given a custodial sentence – increasing the risk of further harm or an escalation of harassment to the victim in the future.

“It is imperative we increase help for victims by offering specialist and professional support to enable them to move on with their lives and deliver better justice through the courts. This includes recognising and reaching out to victims within a domestic abuse situation and doing more to protect victims who are not intimately involved with the perpetrator through greater use of Stalking Protection Orders.

“Stalking is clearly a growing concern, but there is still potentially a proportion of stalking and harassment cases that are not reported. By stepping up our support, I want to increase confidence among victims that we take these crimes extremely seriously and will do everything possible to support them and deliver the protection and justice they deserve.”

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