09:00PM, Thursday 03 May 2018
Figures showing almost one case of stalking or harassment was reported in Slough every day are ‘just the tip of the iceberg’ – a charity founder has said.
The figures from the Office of National Statistics show a total of 337 cases of stalking, harassment or malicious communications were reported in the borough last year, up 31 per cent over the past two years.
In 2015, 258 cases of stalking and harassment were recorded in the town.
But the founder of Jeena, a Chalvey-based charity which helps vulnerable people including domestic abuse victims, said these figures only scratched the surface of the problem.
Rani Bilkhu thinks many people in the borough will suffer in silence, fearing the authorities either won’t take them seriously or will blame them instead.
She said young people often feel like they cannot speak out and says people from certain cultural backgrounds, including those with Indian and Pakistani heritage, may worry more about the impact on family reputation.
“I think it’s under-reported massively, but I do think one person a day is just the tip of the iceberg.
“What I would like to see is what happens to those people who are
Commenting on the rise in reports between 2015 and now, Mrs Bilkhu said: “I think there’s a movement, particularly on social media, about reporting.
“I think this #MeToo movement has been the pinnacle.”
She advised any victims of stalking, harassment or malicious online messages to make a log of everything, report it and to block relevant phone numbers or accounts.
Gary Tallet, community safety partnership manager at Slough Borough Council, said: “The council works very closely with its partners in dealing with cases of stalking and harassment. Depending on the nature of the case, some may be investigated by the council with input from partners, while others may be purely a policing issue.”
He said it was important the ONS figures were not looked at in isolation and said levels of stalking and harassment cases were relatively low compared to other towns with a similar make-up.
For support, contact the National Stalking Helpline on 0808 802 0300 or the council’s domestic abuse provider Hestia on 01753 477352.
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