The funding will be used for a pioneering project working with perpetrators of stalking.
The Hampshire Stalking Clinic is very pleased to have secured funding from the National Police Transformation Fund, via the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime (MOPAC) as part of a bid by the Suzy Lamplugh Trust.
The initiative, which is the first of its kind worldwide, will aim to improve responses to stalking across the criminal justice system and the health sector through rehabilitative treatment for stalkers. Ultimately, it is hoped that working with perpetrators can help to make victims of stalking safer.
The funding will be shared between a number of collaborating bodies nationally including Hampshire Constabulary, Southern Heath NHS Foundation Trust, and Aurora New Dawn (a victim advocacy service) – all key partners in the Hampshire Stalking Clinic.
The Hampshire Stalking Clinic has already been recognised nationally as best practice for its approach to tackling stalking and supporting victims. The opportunity to pilot this perpetrator treatment for stalkers will further build on the work of the clinic in Hampshire.
Hampshire Constabulary Detective Chief Inspector Tim Rowlandson said: “I am really excited at this opportunity to work with the Suzy Lamplugh Trust to further enhance our response to Stalking and Harassment. For many years now Hampshire have been leading the way nationally in our response to Stalking, and we currently have the only multi-agency stalking clinic in the country; which sees psychologists, psychiatrists, Police, Probation, the Crown Prosecution Service and a dedicated victim advocate come together to manage the unique risks posed by stalking.
Stalking is characterised by fixation and obsession. It is often linked to mental ill health and as a result can be incredibly difficult to prevent. Being successful in this bid will allow us to build on the work of the clinic and to develop a programme to treat the underlying causes of stalking behaviour and give the best possible chance of stopping further offending. Stalking can have a devastative effect on those who experience it and we want to work closely together to put a stop to the offending behaviour as quickly as possible.”
Dr David Morton, Consultant Forensic Psychiatrist at Southern Health, explained: “The crime of stalking is a growing problem. Studies tell us that one in five of us will be stalked at some point in our lives. This is usually a very short-lived experience involving an ex-partner in the immediate aftermath of a break-up. But, in some cases, stalking behaviour can become sustained and dangerous, both for the victim and the stalker, who may either be mentally unwell or who may become unwell as a result of the obsessive nature of the behaviour. Unfortunately, the complex psychological issues associated with the crime often fail to be addressed within current criminal justice interventions. By contrast, this new funding will enable us to gain a better understanding of the mental health problems sometimes associated with stalking. Our aim is to work with people to identify ways to help them stop their behaviours, which we hope will help to reduce repeat offending and the impact on the victims.”
Shonagh Dillon, CEO of victim advocacy service Aurora New Dawn said: “We are delighted to be working on this with partners nationally and look forward to the outcomes for this innovative project.”