The only charity dedicated to helping the victims of stalking is to receive a tranche of funding from the Scottish Government.
Action Against Stalking, an umbrella charity which champions the rights of victims and works to raise awareness of stalking, is in line for a £55,000 windfall, the first time it has received government financing.
The charity intends to use the money to set up a dedicated office space and employ specialist staff while also developing and delivering training for services and organisations that work with victims of stalking.
There were 679 convictions for stalking offences in Scotland in 2016/17, but with cases becoming increasingly complex, those who work with victims say a greater understanding of victims’ needs is required.
According to the most recent Scottish Crime and Justice Survey, more than one in ten adults (11.1 per cent) in Scotland were the victims of stalking and harassment throughout 2016/17 and 2017/18.
Ann Moulds, chief executive of Action Against Stalking, said: “This support will ensure Action Against Stalking has improved capacity to build on the excellent work that has already been achieved in this field and the sustainability to play an important role in addressing this crime and improving our response to victims.”
Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf said: “Stalking can be a traumatic crime for victims and social media can be exploited by stalkers to harass and track their victims from a distance, exacerbating its complexity.
“Victims are often vulnerable and have little escape, requiring an intelligent, compassionate approach to support from across the justice system and third sector partners, which Action Against Stalking can inform and deliver.”
In September, a prisoner appeared in court accused of trying to contact BBC Newsnight presenter Emily Maitlis – a breach of his restraining order.
Edward Vines pleaded not guilty at Nottingham Crown Court to breaching the order – imposed in 2008 – by sending her a letter via her mother between 7 and 16 May this year. The trial is set to start in February.
The funding for Action Against Stalking forms part of the £18 million budget for victim and witness support in 2019/20.