Victims of stalking urged to come forward as part of national campaign
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To mark the start of a national campaign Norfolk police are urging victims of stalking to seek help.
National Stalking Awareness Week begins today and aims to raise awareness of issues surrounding this crime and encourage victims to speak out.
Incidents of stalking recorded in Norfolk more than doubled from 70 in 2016 to 153 in 2017 and national figures estimate one in five women and one in 10 men will be affected in their lifetime.
Det Supt Andy Coller, who leads Nofolk Constabulary's safeguarding development, said: 'Stalking often has a huge emotional impact on the victim who can feel very much alone and unable to seek help for fear of repercussions or that they will not be taken seriously.
'We ask that if you have any concerns to please come forward. You're not wasting our time or over-reacting.
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'Only by increasing reporting can we gain a full understanding of the extent of stalking in the county and it is for such a reason I urge victims to take the brave step to come forward and to report incidents.'
The campaign is spearheaded by the Suzy Lamplugh Trust, a charity founded by Diana and Paul Lamplugh following the disappearance and presumed murder of their daughter in the 1980s.
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This year the focus will be on reporting stalking cases and what police and partners can do to protect victims.
Stalking is repeated unwanted contact from one person to another which demonstrates either a fixation or obsession and causes the victim to feel alarm, distress or fear of violence.
Norfolk Police and Crime Commissioner Lorne Green said: 'One of the priorities in my Police and Crime Plan is supporting and encouraging victims and witnesses to come forward and disclose traditionally under-reported crimes such as stalking.
'With that in mind my office has commissioned the Norfolk and Suffolk Victims Care Service where victims can receive practical and emotional support if they are the victim of, or witness to crime.'
National Stalking Awareness Week runs until Friday and social media messages using the hashtag #ReportingStalking will highlight the issues surrounding the crime.
Victims can get support and advice by calling 101 or the National Stalking Helpline on 0808 802 0300.