The Alice Ruggles Trust held its first virtual conference on 8th October 2020, focusing on young people who are stalked.
The 196 participants included police from 24 different forces; CPS and judiciary; social, health, youth and probation services; academic researchers and educators; youth ambassadors and students. They came together on-line to explore how best to support stalking victims under 25 years of age.
The opening address was delivered by Katy Bourne OBE, Police and Crime Commissioner for Sussex.
There were two superb keynote presentations, from Troy McEwan of Swinburne University, Melbourne and Louise from Paladin, the country’s only dedicated young people’s ISAC (Independent Stalking Advocacy Caseworker).
Troy McEwan’s talk
Six excellent workshops covered topics including multi-agency working, apps for victims, cyberstalking, raising awareness within schools, and the role of family and friends.
There was considerable social media interest in the meeting, with students from the Criminology Department at the University of Leicester manning the Trust’s twitter feed for the day (#ARTConf20; #StalkingAwareness).
The conference passed the following resolutions:
- The conference resolves to promote the need for evidence about stalking among young people and to support research into this common and damaging behaviour.
- The conference resolves to support work to ensure that all pupils from Key Stage 2 up to university level have access to education in healthy relationships and managing unwanted behaviour, thus enabling them to have the knowledge and confidence to seek appropriate support promptly.
- The conference resolves to make stalking services fully aware of the particular difficulties facing young people.
- The conference resolves to activate ‘pathways’ that support family and friends of victims of stalking and/or controlling behaviour in taking an active role in protection and harm reduction.
- The conference believes that apps to help stalking victims need to include the ability to store evidence in a secure location.
- The conference believes that all victims of cyberstalking should be supported by individuals with technical capability who are following evidence-based strategies for cyberstalking scenarios.
We hope that these resolutions will help all of us focus on some of the key things we need to achieve going forward, as well as empowering us whenever we are seeking the support and resources we need to help us bring about lasting change.