YEP says: Stalking crime figures should encorage victims to come forward

This week marks national Stalking Awareness Week
This week marks national Stalking Awareness Week
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As league tables go our city would not want to be top of the table when it comes to stalking or harassment cases.

But the latest crime statistics show that Leeds has the highest number of cases of any local authority area in Yorkshire.

And yet it’s not that uncommon.

Victoria Charleston, of the Suzy Lamplugh Trust, said an estimated one in five women and one in ten men would fall victim to stalking in their lifetimes.

The trust runs the National Stalking Helpline and they believe the crime is still being vastly under-reported.

So it is perhaps testament to the police in Leeds that people feel they are able to come forward and report such crimes, which, after all, can be very personal and private.

Detective Chief Inspector Fran Naughton, of West Yorkshire Police, said staff were given dedicated training about what constitutes stalking and harassment.

She, too, believes that although there has been an increase in the number of such crimes reported it is still an under-reported crime.

By talking openly about the issue it should give more people the confidence to come forward.

Hopefully it will also make the perpetrators realise that this is a crime and will be dealt with seriously by the police.