• Risk management in stalking victims: A multi-agency approach to victim advocacy

      Jerath, Kritika; Tompson, Lisa; Belur, Jyoti; University of Derby; University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand; University College London (SAGE Publications, 2020-12-15)
      A pilot Multi-Agency Stalking Intervention Programme (MASIP), introduced in three police forces in England, provided among a range of interventions, the delivery of safety planning advice, and needs-based support for stalking victims through a bespoke advocacy service. The ultimate aim of MASIP was to equip victims with tools to manage the variety of harms caused by stalking, as well as enable them to access the criminal justice system with adequate support. This study explores the personal needs of stalking victims from the perspectives of stalking victims, advocates and stakeholders involved in the intervention program, as part of a larger evaluation study conducted by the authors. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with a total of 10 stalking victims who participated in the MASIP, three advocates who directly interacted with the victims, and 19 MASIP stakeholders involved in the project. Findings revealed that overall, victims believed the advocacy service aided their ability to cope with the realities of stalking. Having a victim advocate as single point of contact made victims’ journey through the justice system easier to navigate, provided them with the emotional support that they required to deal with the harms of stalking and the practical advice offered regarding their personal safety, and allowed them to feel in control of their own risk management. Advocates reported that the multi-agency context helped in risk assessment and ability to design and deliver bespoke support plans, which uniquely improved victims’ engagement with the service. Due to the small size and possibly biased sample, our conclusions must be interpreted with caution.