Hitting back at stalkers

POLICE are reminding Northumberland residents who face stalking or harassment that help and support is available to them.

As well as urging people to get in touch if they are concerned about someone’s behaviour towards them, Northumbria Police is publishing new information on its website directing them to advice and information on the subject.

National research shows the average length of time someone is stalked is two-and-a-half years and 80 per cent of victims are harassed by someone they know, often ex-partners.

The increase in social networking and internet use means ‘online stalking’ is on the rise and the new section of the Northumbria Police website has tips on how to avoid being harassed on the internet and what to do if you are targeted.

Detective Superintendent Steve Wade, from the force’s Protecting Vulnerable People department, said: “We’re well aware of the misery and distress stalking and harassment can cause victims and we want people to know there is support and help available.

“It can come in many forms as it’s not always as obvious as someone repeatedly calling at a victim’s house or ringing their phone. It can be more subtle and include repeated unwanted gifts or approaches over the internet.

“Often problems can be nipped in the bud before they escalate, but we can only take action if we’re made aware of issues.”

To report stalking or harassment, contact the National Stalking Helpline on 080880 20300 or Northumbria Police on 101.

The new information is available at www.northumbria.police.uk/advice_and_information/stalking_harassment/index.asp