Stalking victims have been urged to report offending swiftly and with confidence to prevent the risk of further harm.

The call came as part of National Stalking Awareness week, supported by Conservative Police and Crime Commissioner Candidate for Gwent, Hannah Jarvis.

Hannah said: “My message to anybody who is a victim of stalking is clear – report it to the police.

“Stalking can take many forms. Over recent weeks I've been in touch with victims' organisations and learnt how stalking does not only affect the victim but can also have a devastating knock-on for family members, careers and mental health. It can totally disrupt the way people try to go about their daily lives and the consequences can be appalling. Whether it is in person or online – stalking is totally unacceptable and cannot be tolerated. As Police and Crime Commissioner, I would do everything in my power to end stalking in Gwent and work with victims to learn how best to support them."

Attorney General Victoria Prentice KC MP has stressed that stalking doesn’t have to be acts of violence – it can be anything that causes distress, serious alarm or significantly impacts a person’s ability to carry out day to day tasks.

Marking National Stalking Awareness week, she said: “Stalking can devastate lives – what might appear as innocent acts of kindness or affection can hide more sinister patterns of behaviour. If these aren’t called out early or reported to police, they can escalate to stalking.

“That is why during National Stalking Awareness Week, I am urging anyone who has experienced this unacceptable behaviour – either online or in-person, to come forward and report it.”

Stalking is defined as a pattern of unwanted, fixated, obsessive, and repeated behaviour, which is persistent, intrusive and causes fear of violence or engenders alarm and distress in the victim.

Since the Pandemic, there has also been an increase in cyberstalking, involving unwanted, harassing, threatening electronic or online communication.

The Crown Prosecution Service is collaborating with the police, courts, and victims’ groups to work with victims to reduce the impact of stalking on both them and their families.