Southern Health’s Multi-Agency Stalking Project is set to feature in a new two-part documentary airing next week and starring TV personality, Stacey Dooley.
‘Stacey Dooley: Stalkers’ will air on BBC One on Wednesday 19 and 26 January (10.35pm) and be available for download from BBC3 iPlayer from 6.00pm on Wednesday 19 January. The programme will explore the complex issue of stalking, with Stacey spending time with both victims and perpetrators to demonstrate how individual’s lives can be consumed by stalking.
In episode 2, Stacey meets ‘Tom’ in Hampshire – who has come to the end of two years of therapy provided by Southern Health, following his conviction for stalking his ex-partner. Tom is a real advocate for the help he has received, and Stacey finds that “there is not one universal solution to preventing stalking. Prison alone isn’t always effective, but with police and health professionals working together and tackling each case long term, lasting solutions are more likely.”
Local NHS Trust, 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 tackling 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 480 referrals, conducted over 120 consultations, worked with 52 stalking perpetrators and trained more than 1000 professionals across the health and criminal justice sectors in stalking awareness.
Dr Kirsty Butcher, from Southern Health’s Multi-Agency Stalking Project, is featured in the documentary meeting with ‘Tom’ and she explains: “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.