Stalker treatment centre launched
A new medical service for England and Wales specialising in treating stalkers is due to be launched.
The National Stalking Clinic is believed to be the first of its kind in the world.
According to the British Crime Survey one-in-five women and one-in-10 men aged 16 or over have been victims of stalking in its various guises.
BBC home affairs correspondent Danny Shaw said until now stalkers were prosecuted but not treated.
Dr Frank Farnham, a consultant psychiatrist who has helped set up the new service, said: “If we can treat stalkers, then we can save lives.
“There is great need for a co-ordinated national service that can provide specialist advice and treatment.
“The psychological impact on victims is corrosive, with many suffering months and, in some cases, years of harassment leading to a variety of illnesses including anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress.
“Victims live in a permanent state of hyper-alertness which is physically and mentally draining.”
Our correspondent said offenders who made unwanted phone calls, sent unsolicited emails, followed or harassed the objects of their affections were usually subject to restraining orders.
But under the new approach courts will be able to refer stalkers for assessment, treatment and rehabilitation.