Researchers Look for the Extent of Cyberstalking

By Dipankar Das, Gaea News Network
Saturday, September 25, 2010

cyber_stalking_400q Recently, there is a survey to find out the actual level of cyberstalking in UK. According to the British crime survey, more than one million women and 900,000 men are stalked in the UK every year. But, there was no research until now to find out how many people are stalked or harassed every year.

On Friday the Electronic Communication Harassment Observation (Echo) survey, commissioned by the charity Network for Surviving Stalking, was launched by researchers at the University of Bedfordshire. They are expected to find out how many people are threatened or stalked by e-mail, on internet chatrooms or on social networking sites.

“At the moment there are very few widely agreed guidelines or rules about how to behave online - we hope Echo will define behaviours that are generally experienced as anti-social or likely to cause distress in online communication,” said Project leader Dr Emma Short.

The incident comes a day after Crown Prosecutor Service launched new guideline for cyberstalkers. The CPS’s community liaison director, Nazir Afzal said that this is the first time that the cyberstalking is recognized officially. Mr Afzal continued: “Stalkers steal lives, that was the message I picked up from speaking to victims. Victims stop trusting those they know and every stranger is seen as a threat.”

Alexis Bowater, chief executive for the Network for Surviving Stalking accepted the recent move by CPS in good spirit. She said, “This will go a long way to improving the lives of victims and to making sure that perpetrators are treated appropriately by the courts. Recognizing, in particular, new forms of stalking such as cyberstalking is groundbreaking.”

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