Stalking victims' helpline launched

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The Independent Online

The mothers of two women murdered by stalkers yesterday launched a support service for victims of persistent harrassment.

The National Stalking Helpline will offer personal safety advice, and guidance on how to collect evidence and as well as dealing with malicious emails and silent phonecalls. It has been established by the charities Network for Surviving Stalking, the Suzy Lamplugh Trust and Protection Against Stalking, with partial funding from the Home Office.

The British Crime Survey found in 2004 that every year 1.2 million women and 900,000 women are victims of stalking. However, research indicated that three-quarters of victims do not contact the police until they have suffered at least 100 incidents. It is hoped the helpline will encourage victims to come forward.

Tricia Bernal, whose 22-year-old daughter Clare was shot dead in 2005, a week before her murderer was due to be sentenced for harassment, said: "I am so thrilled we have a helpline to guide anyone with concerns to professionals."