Researchers seek to find true level of cyberstalking in the UK
Posted in: Child Protection&Online Safety at 24/09/2010 22:26
A new survey has been launched in an effort to find out the true level of cyberstalking in the UK.
It comes a day after the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) unveiled new guidance to prosecutors and promised to get tough on cyberstalkers.
More than one million women and 900,000 men are stalked in the UK every year, according to the British Crime Survey.
But until now no research has been done to find out how many people are stalked or harassed online.
Cyberstalkers threatened with UK crackdown
Cyberstalking is to be treated far more seriously after new guidance was unveiled by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS).
Cyberstalking: tackling the 'faceless cowards'
Cyberstalking is a growing problem, but until now has not been recognised as a serious crime. Helen Pidd reports on the battle against the hidden menace online
It was a moment Roland Reed had long dreaded. "Just Googled you, dad," began the text from his daughter. "Why are all these people saying horrible things about you online?" Reed stepped out of work, took a deep breath and dialled his daughter's number. As calmly as he could, he explained that he wasn't really a child abuser, but that someone on the internet had it in for him. A cyberstalker had chosen Reed as his victim, apparently at random. "I told her, 'It's just some nutter, ignore it,'" he says.
But Reed himself couldn't. Every night he logged on to the internet to see what his stalker had been doing to destroy his reputation that day. The allegations were spreading insidiously on internet forums, and he was powerless to stop them. Even if he did have time to contact each site moderator - where one existed - there was no point, he believed. His stalker, posting from behind an untraceable proxy server, would just create a new identity and spring up elsewhere. Plus, he didn't want this belligerent stranger to know that he cared. It would just feed their lust for attention and destruction.