Assertive Outreach discuss Stalking and Harassment
To mark National Stalking Awareness Week, we spoke with our Assertive Outreach team about dealing with Stalking and Harassment, as well as the support they provide.
Assertive Outreach is a Cyfannol Women’s Aid project, working in partnership with Gwent Police. The project began in 2018, following a successful pilot which found that individuals experiencing domestic abuse engaged more with officers when a support worker was present. The team provides support to victims of domestic abuse at the point of crisis across Gwent. Support workers are based at police stations with officers and attend domestic abuse call outs, giving a joint response to incidents of domestic abuse.
Support can be provided in individual’s homes, a safe place within the community, over the phone or via text or email, and includes:
- Completing a risk assessment
- Discussing what the individual wants and needs
- Formulating a safety plan
- Establishing ongoing support needs (which may include refuge, specialist domestic or sexual abuse support, mental health, housing or specialist drug and alcohol support)
The Assertive Outreach team aims to bridge the gap between the Police and Support Services, ensuring individuals feel heard and understood when reporting a crime or seeking advice, knowing they will be taken seriously and believed.
Dealing with stalking:
Stalking is a pattern of persistent and unwanted attention that makes you feel pestered, scared, anxious or harassed.
In our experience with working with multiple victims of stalking, we often see many types of behaviour which include (but are not limited to):
- Turning up unannounced
- Persistent calling, texting, sending letters and following
- Surveillance equipment, i.e. cameras and tracking devices for cars/phones
- Sending unwanted gifts, love letters, photos, and flowers
- Using children/family members/friends to discover whereabouts
- Approaching other people in your life; spreading false rumours or damaging information for spite or blackmail
- Disrespecting property that belongs to you
- Threats, including threats to those that you care about
- Creating fake accounts on social media to monitor you and/or contact you
- Being at places they know you’d be (work, supermarket, friends)
It is extremely common for the Assertive Outreach team to support victims of domestic abuse who are experiencing stalking and harassment. As Assertive Outreach work alongside Gwent Police, we are able to support you when speaking to officers, to help you feel safer and more comfortable, as we understand that this can be a nerve-wracking experience.
If you’ve experienced stalking and harassment, we can support you to:
- Identify and have awareness around different types of stalking behaviour.
- Take control and independence of your safety.
- Create an individual safety plan that is tailored to your needs and wishes.
- Secure your mobile phone to prevent stalking.
- Access useful apps such as Hollie guard and Bright Sky.
- Obtain safeguarding measures for your home, such as alarms and ring doorbells.
- Access specialist on-going support.
- Access safe accommodation including refuge accommodation or temporary accommodation.
There are orders that can be put in place by the Police, such as a Restraining Order, Domestic Violence Protection Order and a Stalking Protection Order. Also, Solicitors can support you to put in place Non-molestation Orders and Occupation Orders. The Assertive Outreach team has a wealth of knowledge on these orders, so will be able to provide you with further advice and guidance. We understand this can be a frightening and confusing time, so our aim is to keep you informed and ensure you feel empowered to make choices.
Over the years, we have supported many victims of both stalking and harassment and the support we’ve provided has enabled them to feel safer and more confident to access support and to report incidents to the Police.
If you feel that you are experiencing stalking and harassment, you can contact Gwent Police and, if in immediate danger, ring 999. When reporting an incident to the Police, you can ask to receive contact from our Assertive Outreach team.