Falkirk stalking victims speak out

Stalking has been an offence since 2010 but getting convictions is difficult
Stalking has been an offence since 2010 but getting convictions is difficult

Carol keeps the curtains drawn, even on the sunniest days because she is scared what could be at the other side of the window.

After four years of abuse, intimidation and threats from her ex-partner the mother-of-three does everything she can to protect herself and her family.

With advances in technology it’s easier than ever now to stalk. They can use phone calls, texts and social media to find out where their victim is and use it to abuse them

Lisamarie Pert, Falkirk Women’s Aid

Carol, not her real name, is one of the hundreds of women in Scotland that has fallen victim to stalking. After a violent relationship, which came to an end when he hit her in froint of her children after a night out in Falkirk, Carol plucked up the courage to leave. But it was not the last she heard from her ex.

He started to persistently phone, text and send Facebook messages. She would regularly see him outside her house and he would send her texts saying he could see what she was wearing.

Carol said: “After a while I stopped opening the curtains as I would never know if he was lurking. I’m constantly on edge, waiting for a message or call. It’s no way to live.”

Carol says her ex has been charged with stalking before but he still persists and he is due at court again soon.

Lisamarie Pert from Falkirk Women’s Aid said the organisation hears of similar cases on a regular basis.

She said: “I’ve been working with Falkirk Women’s Aid for 15 years and stalking has always been an issue but only recently has it been a criminal offence.

“It usually starts once an abusive relationship comes to an end and he loses control. So he starts to intimidate and stalk to gain the control back and have her terrified.

“With advances in technology it’s easier than ever now to stalk. They can use phone calls, texts and social media to find out where their victim is and use it to abuse them.

“And usually they are smart about it,They make sure to hide their phone number, or be vague on social media to make it more difficult to get a prosecution,

“And it’s not just men, women stalk their partners too, it can affect every walk of life. I see all types here for help, from those from tough backgrounds to the wives of lawyers.”

Stalking became a criminal offence in Scotland in 2010 and while Lisamarie says the matter is taken seriously by Police Scotland, getting convictions is difficult.

“It can be frustrating for the police too, but unless there is concrete evidence, the Crown won’t take it to court. And if it does go to court and the evidence does not stand up then the prosecution case could collapse.”

An Airth woman told The Falkirk Herald her life was made a misery by her former husband.

He repeatedly following her in his car over a four month period, making her scared and worried over what he would do.

The woman said she is still dealing with the trauma.

She said: “Every time I leave the house, I’m looking over my shoulder to see if I’m being followed. I don’t get any peace.

“It’s completely changed me, I’m on medication to deal with the strain it’s put on me and it’s caused problems with my partner. Luckily I now have a lovely partner, who is so understanding but, my ex-husband has tried his best to ruin what we have.”

She said the police were understanding but she would like to see him jailed when he appears at Falkirk Sheriff Court later this year to be sentenced.

The mother added: “The affect on my life has been huge, I hope he does jail time.

“He deserves to lose his freedom, the same way he took mine.”