Suzy Lamplugh Trust published the ‘unmasking stalking’ report in line with National Stalking Awareness Week at the end of April. The report saught to better understand victims experiences of stalking behaviours during the Covid-19 Pandemic.
Survey respondants reported a rise in both on and offline behaviours, with a rise in intensity and frequency of obessive and fixated behaviours which respondants linked to the impact of lockdown restrictions. In addition to this respondants reported that stalking behaviours continue to be misrecognised and misunderstood by the criminal justice system. This points to a lack of knowledge of stalking legislation. Along side this the survey revealed the impact of the pandemic on the mental health of many victims.
The pandemic has had a devastating impact on many victims’ mental health, exacerbating the trauma, distress and anxiety caused by stalking behaviours. In particular, respondents indicated that the physical restrictions of lockdown, as well as the resulting social isolation, had affected their safety and psychological wellbeing – with these elements often interlinked. However, despite often inadequate support, survey respondents also noted encouraging examples of good practice or advice received from specialist services, the police, and also lawyers, which helped them tackle changes in stalking behaviour during the pandemic.