The Black Country Stalking Support Service is a new specialist service supporting women and girls affected by stalking across the Black Country. The service can support all victims, whether or not they know their stalker. This is the the first specialist regional service to offer support both inside and outside the context of domestic abuse.
As part of the service we they will also provide training, support and partnership work to help agencies and professionals recognise stalking and work with victims.
The event which launched on the 26th April 2018 included a range of speakers:
- Nick Gazzard, The Hollie Gazzard Trust: The Human Cost of Stalking. Nick’s daughter Hollie Gazzard was murdered in 2014 after being stalked by an ex-partner. Her family established the Trust to raise awareness of stalking and domestic abuse, and launched the HollieGuard personal safety app
- Karen Payne, NCDV: Civil Law Options for Victims of Stalking
- Dr Holly Taylor Dunn, University of Worcester: Harassment and Stalking in England and Wales
- Cath Hannon, Office of the West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner
- Nikki Penniston, Black Country Women’s Aid: The Black Country Stalking Support Service
- The Survivors’ Voice
Nick spoke to the attendees about Hollie, what the Trust stands for, the personal and professional implications of stalking and how Hollie Guard has helped those gather confidence to rebuild their life.
Kiran Bahia, ISAC Black Country:
For me Nick’s presentation was hard hitting and will help me remain alert and as a professional it will support me in assisting victims to get justice. Nick’s presentation will also help me support other professionals to recognise that stalking is a crime.
Debbie Smallman, Domestic Abuse Incidents Review and MARAC Coordinator Sandwell:
I thought the presentation made a great impact on me emotionally and professionally. It emphasised the focus on what stalking looks like in reality (not just on paper) and sadly the detrimental effects it has on the victim and the family. I commend Nick for being so brave in his campaign….I only wish the need didn’t exist.
Laura Jewson, ISAC Black Country:
‘Nick is an extremely passionate individual. Nick’s presentation at the Stalking Launch was both interesting and informative and importantly built up a picture of how stalking law has progressed to what it is now and also looked forward in order to problem solve. Nick mentioned various studies in his presentation which I have now read, and this has allowed me to create real, evidence based challenges for my clients to get them the best help when working with other professionals’
Debbie Ashbey, Young Person’s IDVA Dudley:
Nikki, Thank you for the opportunity to pass on our thoughts I thought Nick’s presentation was amazing, and life changing, I will carry Hollie’s story with me throughout my practice: “Nick has showed to be an inspiring father who has taken a tragedy to carry great strength and channel this in to making sure we are all aware of the risks behind stalking, and make sure that we travel the sometimes unspoken signs to others”
Ailish Ramsey, Black Country ISVA Manager:
I found Nick’s presentation inspiring and it changed my day to day practice forever. I am now totally aware of the risks of stalking.
Katriona Lafferty, Community Safety Officer (Reducing Vulnerabilities) Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council:
Nicks presentation was really emotive and at the same time informative, it really hit home about how important raising aware of stalking is on both a personal and professional level.
Nick said: ”Firstly i’d like to thank Black Country Women’s Aid for giving me the opportunity to speak at the event and share Hollie’s story and raise awareness of the Trust. Stalking is an issue which is, unfortunately, under reported. It would be great if it just didn’t happen so cases wouldn’t need to be reported. The initiative in the Black Country and Gloucestershire stalking support services are vital for those suffering to access the support they need.”
The launch of the stalking service should help cases of stalking be reported on more and help those being subjected to the crime to be supported at an early stage. We look forward to continued work with Black Country Women’s Aid.