Southern Health’s Multi-Agency Stalking Project has been shortlisted for a national award for its work locally to tackle stalking.
The local NHS team have been shortlisted in the ‘forensic mental health services’ category at the National Positive Practice in MH Awards 2022. The awards were set up to share and celebrate positive practice in mental health, raising the profile of mental health with politicians and policy makers and encouraging best practice in mental health care.
Southern Health has been running the Multi-Agency Stalking Project since 2018, and it is one of only four programmes of its kind dedicated to combating stalking in the UK. The psychology-led team, which also has a psychiatrist - helps people who are experiencing obsessive or fixated thoughts and behaviours about others. It aims to work with people to make positive behavioural changes - improving their psychological wellbeing, their relationships with other people and ultimately reducing the risks of unlawful stalking behaviour and the impact of this on potential victims.
The team works collaboratively alongside Hampshire Constabulary, Hampshire & IOW probation teams and Aurora New Dawn (a victim advocacy organisation). Since its inception, the team has received over 615 referrals, conducted over 165 consultations, worked with 69 stalking perpetrators and trained more than 1400 professionals across the health and criminal justice sectors in stalking awareness.
Dr Kirsty Butcher, Southern Health’s Multi-Agency Stalking Project Lead, commented: “The aim of our work is to break the cycle of obsession, fixation and harm. This benefits the patient but, most importantly, protects and benefits the victim and any potential future victims.”
Stalking is popularly associated with adoring fans and their targeted celebrities, but it is far more common and close-to-home than people realise. For example, 1 in 10 men and 1 in 5 women will be stalked in their lifetime, and young people are the most affected age group.
The National Positive Practice in Mental Health Awards ceremony will take place at Ramside Hall in Durham, on Thursday 6 October 2022.