Do you think it is important for all victims of stalking to be offered an Independent stalking advocate and if so why?
Absolutely I think the police are great at dealing with the evidential side of things. But what the stalking advocate does is help you deal with the emotional side of things.
I hate to use the word victim but the stalking advocate helps the victim where no one else does, or can or has the time. It’s that bridge which is so so important, it’s a person who knows the system and can lead on it. Unlike for example a crime like robbery, most people know someone who has been robbed but not many people know someone who has been stalked. So when that happened to me, I had no point of reference, I knew no one who had been stalked or had any experience or understanding. So having someone like an independent specialist stalking advocate tell you – this is what is happening and why it is happening – is absolutely vital.
Did you think what you were experiencing was stalking? Did it surprise you when someone described it in that way to you? What was the impact?
No, I also didn’t think what I was experiencing was abusive behaviour in our relationship until I started to write it all down and document it all. So those are the major things that the stalking advocate helped me to identify, she helped me and she showed me that what was happening in the relationship wasn’t normal or acceptable. I certainly knew the perpetrator putting a tracker on my car wasn’t normal, but I didn’t know it came under the realms of stalking.
The worst thing you can be called in this scenario is a stalking victim, especially as a woman, there’s a huge pride in being a strong independent woman, and having that taken away from me by him and by the word ‘victim’ is horrendous. I think the most wonderful thing about Aurora New Dawn and other stalking organisations is they take away your feelings of victimisation. They empower you with knowledge, support expertise and experience, which makes you feel you’re not alone and also makes you feel that you know what is going on and you’re back in control. So, in a scenario where you felt like you had lost control, and I don’t want to go into the whole emotional side of things that I felt during that, the stalking advocate has helped me hugely to put that behaviour in a place of understanding what is unacceptable and unhealthy.
Aurora is funded by the Hampshire and IOW Police and Crime Commissioner and work in partnership with Hampshire Constabulary.
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