Everyone needs to recognise that stalking is a seriously distressing and potentially life-threatening crime. Stalking behaviour needs to result in immediate action both to protect the victim and to deal effectively with the perpetrator.
Alice Ruggles was murdered in 2016, aged just 24, by an ex-boyfriend following a relentless campaign of stalking. You can read Alice's story here.
The Alice Ruggles Trust is a member of the National Stalking Consortium, a group of like-minded charities working together to tackle stalking and help reduce the risks for victims.
New documentaries, on TV…
A powerful new TV documentary telling Alice’s story was broadcast on July 10, 12 and 18 as the first in a new true crime documentary series on 5 STAR.
Unlike “An Hour to Catch a Killer” broadcast on ITV last year, which focused on the police investigation following Alice’s death, this new documentary tells the whole story of what happened to Alice and highlights the lessons that need to be learned, both by the police and other agencies but also by the general public.
“Murdered by my stalker” is available on-line on My5.
Emma Casson’s documentary about Alice's story and the lessons to be learned, “It’s not your fault”, was broadcast on BBC Radio 1 on Sunday July 1 in their Life Hacks programme, and later on Radio 1Xtra in their 1Xtra Talks programme as part of a studio discussion on stalking with Rachel Horman from Paladin. Both programmes are available on BBC iPlayer Radio until July 30, and the documentary itself is available indefinitely as a “Radio 1 & 1Xtra Stories” podcast.
The documentary won Emma the Gold Award for Best Student Documentary at the 2018 New York Radio Festivals.
In this 70-minute podcast, Alice’s father Clive speaks to Laura Richards, founder of Paladin, and her colleagues in the United States about Alice’s story and the lessons to be learned.
In this award-winning podcast by Emma Casson, the first of a 3-part radio documentary on coercive relationships and stalking behaviours, Alice’s friend Maxine and mum Sue talk about Alice and what happened to her, with additional comments from the Chair of Paladin, Rachel Horman.
Have you been hacked?
A horrifying aspect of Alice's ex-boyfriend's controlling behaviour was to hack into her social media accounts so that he could keep track of what she was doing and saying to her friends.
What should you do if you think your phone might have been hacked? We've put together a few guidelines here.
How can they hack you?
There are several different ways:
- If you've logged into an account on a device they own and forgotten to log out
- If you've logged into an account on a device they own and you've since changed your password but you haven't told the application to log out all devices currently logged in
- If you've told them your password / your password is easy to guess / your password is the same for lots of other things and they've found it out / your password is written down somewhere
- If they've put some spy software on your device which records everything you type and this is used to capture passwords.
- In very rare cases professional hackers, security people (MI5, MI6, GCHQ, or advanced coders) can hack into your devices or the servers hosting these applications
What should you do?
- Contact the police
- Make sure the App (Facebook, WhatsApp etc) is up to date (this removes security vulnerabilities): iPhone App Store updates; Android Play Store Updates
- Make sure the operating system of your device is up to date (this removes security vulnerabilities): iPhone, Android
- Ensure your device has a passcode (and make sure no one else knows it and it’s not easy to guess): iPhone, Android
- Ensure your device auto locks after a minute or two (this can seem like a pain but it helps secure your device): iPhone, Android.
- Always lock your device if you leave it somewhere
- If someone has had access to your device:
- Enable 2-step (sometimes called 2-factor) authentication. This means having a trusted device such as a Mobile, Tablet or PC which will get a code when a new device tries to log in for the first time: WhatsApp 2-step verification; Facebook 2-factor authentication
- Change your password every month AND log out of all devices (see above). Choose a different messaging tool (for example: Telegram; Signal; FrozenChat; ChatSecure; Wickr Me; Silence; SilentPhone; Gliph) and don't advertise the fact widely
- If you are still really worried, buy another phone (like a pay-as-you-go) and do not share the number widely. Create a new account (WhatsApp for example) and message on a totally different account and phone.
We are developing awareness guidelines in the hope that we can help to prevent what happened to Alice happening to others. There is also some great advice already out there on the internet. So for now:
What to do if...
...you are being stalked, or think you may be being stalked, or are worried about someone's obsessive or controlling behaviour
- Phone the Suzy Lamplugh Trust's National Stalking Helpline: 0808 802 0300
- Check out on-line advice on how to deal with stalking such as that provided by Paladin, Women's Aid and the Suzy Lamplugh Trust
...you think you might have been hacked
We've put together a few of our own guidelines here