Northamptonshire Police to offer greater protection for victims of cyber stalking

Detective Constable Steve Watkins, digital media investigator, said the new approach by Northamptonshire Police will mean enhanced protection for  domestic abuse victims.
Detective Constable Steve Watkins, digital media investigator, said the new approach by Northamptonshire Police will mean enhanced protection for domestic abuse victims.

Victims of domestic abuse are to be offered extra protection against cyber stalking as part of a new approach being used by Northamptonshire Police.

A questionnaire has been produced by the force, which assesses the ‘risk level’ of each domestic abuse victim and they will then be offered advice or action depending on the needs of each individual case.

A victim of cyberstalking in Northamptonshire says she was tracked down by an ex-partner via the internet

A victim of cyberstalking in Northamptonshire says she was tracked down by an ex-partner via the internet

Steve Watkins, a digital media investigator, said the action taken could involve sweeping the victim’s home for listening devices or replacing a hard drive.

The questionnaire will be filled in by independent domestic violence advisors (IDVAs) from the Sunflower Centre in Northampton.

Steph Challis, senior independent domestic violence advisor, said she believed the new approach would protect more victims.

She said: “With the amount of technology available in everyday life I don’t think people appreciate how much they disclose.

“With Facebook, for example, there are a number of security measures you can make including making your account private, blocking people and preventing people tagging you in photographs.”

There are believed to be more than 5,500 domestic abuse victims in Northamptonshire every year and cyber stalking is an increasing crime.

A Northamptonshire woman, who was the victim of cyber stalking from an ex-partner, said she felt angry and upset by his actions.

She said: “He got my phone number of the website of my business and kept phoning me pretending to be a customer.

“One call was in the middle of the night and it was just heavy breathing.”