Stalking victim Ann Moulds today (April 16th) helped launch a Glasgow campaign highlighting the warning signs of a crime that ruins lives.

Ann is backing a new multi-agency campaign designed to make people aware of the early indicators of stalking and urging them to seek help.

Glasgow Community & Safety Services (GCSS) have produced two short films outlining how incidents which might seem innocent in isolation can actually be signs of stalking.

Stalking is insidious and on the increase due to widespread use of new technology. Social networking sites make it easy for people, including those with bad intentions, to learn details about you and your life and computers and mobile phones give them virtual access to your home. 

The films explode the myth that people are mainly stalked by strangers when it can be an acquaintance, colleague or, most commonly, a former intimate partner.

They were unveiled at the Glasgow Film Theatre today (April16th) and launched on twitter and Youtube. The event preceded National Stalking Awareness Day on April 18th.

The films were scripted and commissioned by Glasgow Community & Safety Services (GCSS) in partnership with the city’s Violence Against Women Partnership. As well as being posted on social media, they will also be screened in Glasgow’s Best Bar None venues including the Arches and The Society Rooms.

Partners in the project include GCSS, Glasgow City Council, Police Scotland, Rape Crisis Scotland and Action Scotland Against Stalking.

Councillor Jim Coleman, Chair of the Glasgow Violence Against Women Partnership, said: “The initial signs of stalking can be insidious but these films are designed to help people identify the warning signs and encourage them to seek support before a situation develops into something really sinister.

“Often people feel helpless and alone but there is no need to suffer in silence. Help and advice is out there for anyone suffering unwanted attention.”

Often people suffering unwanted attention may not initially recognise it as stalking. Warnings signs can include unwanted gifts or texts messages, a work colleague interfering with personal items on your desk or an acquaintance turning up at a venue where they know you will be. Sometimes stalkers create a crisis for their targets so they can come to their rescue. This could include something like your mobile phone or keys going missing only to be “found” and returned by the perpetrator. 

Ann Moulds was the victim of a harrowing stalking case which still haunts her years later. Her tormentor was eventually convicted in court and sentenced to community service but Ann felt compelled to move 80 miles to get away from him – leaving her business, home, family and friends.

The experience had such an impact on her life that she went on to launch an award-winning campaign. Action Scotland Against Stalking (ASAS) which helps victims and successfully campaigned for stalking to be made a specific offence in Scotland. ASAS quickly became an international campaign and England and Wales introduced anti stalking legislation in 2012.

Since 2010, police across Scotland have investigated 1001 stalking cases and 761 people have been reported to the Procurator Fiscal.

Detective Chief Inspector Craig Willison of Police Scotland’s Domestic Abuse Taskforce said: “Stalking and harassment are completely unacceptable and have been a criminal offence in Scotland since December 2010.

“Stalking exists in many forms – it could be unwanted attention or behaviour from an ex-partner for example, and could include telephone calls, texts or more threatening behaviours such as appearing at your workplace or home unannounced and unwarranted. These types of behaviours can be terrifying, debilitating and can seriously affect a person’s quality of life in so many ways. 

“I would urge any person experiencing such unwanted attention to get in touch with police – we will provide you with advice and refer you to one of our partner agencies for support. If you feel you are a victim of stalking or harassment, please seek help.”

Glasgow Bailie Nina Baker got involved in setting up the campaign after meeting Ann Moulds and hearing about her work.

She said: “Stalking is something we hear about happening to high profile celebrities or when it ends in tragedy but it also happens to ordinary people whose lives can be ruined even if it does not develop into violence.

 “Through this campaign, we want people to recognise the early warning signs of stalking and to seek help before it progresses.”

Anyone who fears they may be a victim of stalking should contact Police Scotland , the National Stalking Helpline on 0808 802 0300 or Action Scotland against Stalking by emailing [email protected] 

The films can be viewed at :-