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Rearranging garden furniture or sending unwanted gifts – are you aware of the signs of stalking?

PUBLISHED: 11:03 25 April 2017 | UPDATED: 11:03 25 April 2017

Stalking online is just of the things police want to make people aware of. Picture Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

Stalking online is just of the things police want to make people aware of. Picture Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

Unwanted telephone calls, unsolicited gifts and damage to property are just some of the signs of stalking that police are trying to make people aware of during National Stalking Awareness Week.

Norfolk police are supporting the campaign which aims to raise awareness of the issue and the effect stalking can have on people.

The campaign, by the Suzy Lamplugh Trust, focuses on helping police and support workers recognise the signs of stalking at an early stage and focusing on the motives of the stalker, not just on specific incidents or behaviour.

The charity states this type of behaviour could be as simple as rearranging garden furniture, sending unwanted gifts, loitering on the pavement outside their house or even calling social services to maliciously report ‘poor’ parenting.

Statistics for Norfolk reveal the number of incidents of stalking recorded by Norfolk Constabulary during the 2015/16 financial year were 51, compared to 42 in 2014/15.

Detective Superintendent Julie Wvendth, who leads Norfolk Constabulary’s Safeguarding Department, said: “While behaviours described above might not present an immediate physical risk, its important officers, professionals and members of the community are aware of signs to spot obsessive and fixated behaviours which can have a huge emotional impact on victims.

“We recognise stalking victims can often feel alone and unable to seek help for fear of repercussions or that they will not be taken seriously.

“I would urge anyone with concerns about such behaviour to take the brave step to come forward and report incidents to police or any of the third party support groups available. You shouldn’t feel as though you’re wasting our time or that you’re over-reacting.”

Types of stalking behaviour

• Unwanted communications may include telephone calls, letters, emails, faxes, text messages, messages on social networking sites, graffiti or sending or leaving unsolicited gifts.

• Unwanted intrusions include following, waiting for, spying on, approaching and going to a person’s home. A stalker may also order or cancel goods or services, make complaints (to legitimate bodies), damage property or follow and try to talk to you online (cyberstalking).

Victims can get more advice and support from The National Stalking Helpline on 0808 802 0300

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