Sussex PCC's video log: Cyberstalking increases across Sussex in Covid-19 crisis

Stalkers are fixated and obsessive offenders who will not stop. This National Stalking Awareness Week (20-24th April), Sussex Police & Crime Commissioner Katy Bourne is urging people to ‘See Stalking Clearly’.

Katy Bourne
Katy Bourne

For those affected by stalking in Sussex, current isolation as a result of the Covid-19 crisis has meant an increase in stalking behaviours online. Sussex stalking advocacy service, Veritas Justice, have seen a 26% increase in referrals with 75% of their clients reporting a change in their stalker’s behaviour, moving more online.

So, this week Mrs Bourne is launching a new online chat facility, delivered by Veritas Justice on their website: https://veritas-justice.co.uk to offer easily accessible support for victims across the county.

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Advice will be available on: how to keep yourself safer online; how to preserve vital digital evidence that could be used against a stalker; and how to reduce the distress caused by constant unwanted digital contact.

Mrs Bourne does not want anyone to have to suffer in silence during this lockdown. She says: “The rise in cyberstalking due to the ‘lockdown’ concerns me deeply. We know all too well that this behaviour causes extreme distress and can unfortunately escalate quickly.

“The severity of risk to a victim is now defined by the amount of time invested by the perpetrator in their obsession. So, with many victims receiving over 100 text messages/emails/phone calls a day, we know that these strong fixations could have a more sinister outcome.

“If you are experiencing behaviour that is Fixated, Obsessive, Unwanted or Repeated you are being stalked. It is a crime and you will be taken seriously when you ask for help.

“Please still report to the police and reach out to the team at Veritas Justice, they will both continue to be there for you whenever you need them.”

Stalking is a crime that is distressing and malicious and is something no one should have to put up with.

Think FOUR. Is the behaviour;

F – fixated

O – obsessive

U – unwanted

R - repeated

You can report stalking or harassment online at https://www.sussex.police.uk/stalking by calling 101 or in person at your local police station.

But always call 999 if you are in danger. Officers and staff will undertake a risk assessment and focus on keeping you safe