Stalking in the News...
"Technology must be safer" warns stalking and domestic violence charities
Today, Wednesday 1st February 2012, national domestic violence charity Women's Aid and national stalking charity Network for Surviving Stalking are together launching a practical guide for victims of stalking. 'Digital stalking: a guide to technology risks for victims' will be an important resource for all stalking victims, including the many survivors of domestic violence who are being stalked by an ex-partner. It explains the wide range of technological risks for those being stalked, including use of Spyware on personal computers, tracking devices on mobile phones and tracking of information through social networking sites.
With over 18% of women and 9% of men experiencing stalking since the age of 16 , stalking affects a wide range of people. However, stalking by ex-partners accounts for the largest group of victims and women are most at risk from physical assault and fatal harm.
The guidelines, which are funded by the Nominet Trust and Avon, contain practical advice on how to reduce the risk of being stalked online. They can also be used for training organisations which deal with stalking and domestic violence cases, including the police and other key agencies.
Ellen* - a keen EBay user left her abusive partner. He was monitoring her account. When she next bought something he contacted the seller claiming it hadn't arrived. He asked the seller to verify the address. The seller gave him Ellen's new address. He then found her and beat her so severely she was left blind in her left eye.
Jane* was in a relationship that became physically abusive and he had broken her ribs during one attack. Every time she left him he harassed her until she took him back, so next time she left she moved into a refuge. Her ex-partner tracked her down to her workplace and then to a pub she was in one evening. He threw a brick through the window of the pub, which hit the landlord. Jane she could not work out how he knew where she was, until her mechanic friend discovered a tracking device on her car.
Author of the guidance and digital stalking expert Jennifer Perry said: "Geo-location services that use GPS are the perfect tool for a stalker. Once he has access to a victim's phone or computer he can watch, listen and follow her wherever she goes - these products are also extremely cheap to buy."
Women's Aid Chief Executive, Nicola Harwin CBE, said: "Stalking is a frequent aspect of domestic violence, and it is frightening how easy it can be to do this through technology. Getting access to a partner's phone or computer, and installing applications without their knowledge, can happen quickly and provide the abuser with substantial information. This guide provides important information that can
help increase safety. If an abuser can track his ex-partner, even after she has left the relationship, she will be at increased risk of violence."
Network for Surviving Stalking Chief Executive Alexis Bowater said: "We're calling on technology companies to consider the safety of stalking and domestic violence victims when designing their products. Technology is here to stay and it can be a very useful tool - we think the companies could make their products even better by factoring in safety features."
Ian Puddick, 41, is accused of harassment after he created a host of blogs, tweets and online videos to expose the affair of his wife, Leena, with insurance firm director Timothy Haynes, a court heard.
Haynes spoke of his "embarrassment and shame" after neighbours received letters containing graphic accounts of the fling, and colleagues and clients were contacted through fake profiles on social networking site LinkedIn.
The story was reported in the Independent
Ian Puddick cleared of harassing wife's lover on internet
see full story in the Guardian
Network for Surviving Stalking has teamed up with The Safety Net Associates Group to offer a comprehensive training programme. It brings together some of the world’s experts in this field to help better understand this devastating crime and help train those trying to tackle it. Find out more about the National Stalking Academy here.