Photo via Adam/Flickr (CC-BY)
It’s National Stalking Awareness Week in the U.K., and the Women’s Equality Party (WE) is partnering with singer and stalking victim Lily Allen to launch a powerful campaign.Allen shared the story of her own harrowing experience in the Observer Saturday. She explained that, in spite of meticulously reporting multiple incidents of being stalked, the police did not treat her case seriously until it was attached to a burglary.
“I want some answers from the police,” Allen told the Observer. “I’m a famous person and had the inclination to push things. If they treat me like this, how the hell are they going to treat someone else without those resources, without clout?”
WE’s campaign seeks to raise awareness and tighten laws to protect women across the U.K. In a statement on WE's website, party leader and London mayoral candidate Sophie Walker condemned the faulty justice system and called readers to action.
"As Lily's story illustrates, the justice system still does not fully understand stalking behaviours and risks," Walker wrote. "Lily carefully reported every single incident and collected evidence, but the police failed to join up the dots. WE understand that tackling stalking requires a joined-up approach and by joining us, you will help us push this to the top of the political agenda."
On Twitter, individuals and organizations like Paladin, the U.K.'s national stalking advocacy service, chimed in using hashtags #jointhedots and #NSAW16.
Walker noted that 85 percent of young women in London have experienced sexual harassment. "These are not isolated incidents," she wrote. "They are part of structural violence against women because of their gender."
More than a year ago, the parents of stalking and murder victims Kirsty Treloar and Jane Clough started a Change.org petition to create a stalker's registry in the U.K. So far, their petition has raised more than 125,000 signatures.
Since there is currently no framework to monitor stalking behaviors, repeat offenders often go unnoticed by law enforcement, despite repeated attacks and harassment of victims. The victims' parents, John Clough and Pamela Dabney, hope their petition to create a stalker’s registry will change that.In a letter addressed to their Home Secretaries of Parliament, they wrote:
“People with a history of stalking are as dangerous as sex offenders and there needs to be tracking and monitoring of them. We need to act now to save lives by protecting women from serial stalkers and domestic violence perpetrators by introducing a register which would help police to pro-actively identify, track, monitor and manage stalkers instead of relying on a series of victims to report multiple crimes. This needs to change.”