Anne’s story*

Alone and in fear, Anne called police to report her ex-partner who was continually turning up at her new home (despite the Covid-19 lockdown), threatening to tell her family and boss she was gay, threatening to kill her, and bombarding her with texts and emails more than 50 times a day. She even hacked Anne’s social media accounts, pretending to be her, and posted awful comments about Anne’s friends. Anne thought she was going mad.

Fortunately she was referred to the Stalking Support Service run by the locally based charity Protection Against Stalking (PAS). It was at this point Anne realised she was not alone.

PAS put Anne in contact with one of their professionally trained caseworkers who listened to her story...

She had first met her partner on-line. After six months they met and formed a relationship. They rented a flat together. The relationship was abusive and controlling from early on: Anne could only wear the clothes her partner said she could wear, she was not allowed out on her own and she was continually undermined and ridiculed. During this relationship Anne lost her confidence and felt very low. They had been together for two years when Anne decided to leave.

Anne moved in with a male friend and the on-line stalking behaviour began the day after she left. Anne couldn’t understand why her ex-partner kept turning up at events she was attending; she was everywhere. It was later found that a tracker had been placed on her car.

Lockdown happened. Her housemate had gone to his parents and Anne was left alone in her flat, feeling isolated in every sense of the term. She was scared, living in fear, not sleeping and feeling really anxious. She couldn’t go out, even though lockdown was not deterring her ex-partner from turning up. Anne felt totally alone.

Protection Against Stalking’s caseworker developed a safety plan with Anne and worked with the police, the Cyber Helpline, her employer, the courts and Victim Support to help her feel safe. She was given guidance on how to make her mobile devices secure, and she was helped to make a successful application to court for a non-molestation order. Counselling support was organised through her company, and security devices were fitted to her flat.

As everyone was in lockdown the care, support and processes have all been conducted online, by phone or in video meetings.

Today Anne feels more secure, is more confident and feels less isolated. Her Manager and Caseworker are keeping in regular contact with her and her counsellor is supporting her too.

Covid-19 has not prevented providing Anne from getting the support she needed when she needed it.

Anne says, “I am frightened because of the virus and on top of this worried that my stalker might turn up. Just knowing you are there for me makes all the difference.”

Getting support

Stalking is a sign of escalating risk and it is really important to get help as soon as possible. The first recourse should always be to phone the police on 101 (or, in an emergency, 999), but national and local support services remain open. Please contact them if you feel at risk.

*We are grateful to Protection Against Stalking for sharing this story. For more information visit their website

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