A university and a charity have teamed up in a bid to prevent abusive behaviour in society
University of the West of Scotland and Action Against Stalking are set to launch a new partnership and centre of excellence, focused on the prevention of stalking, harmful and abusive behaviour in society.
The Centre for Action Against Stalking will be unveiled at the first-ever international stalking conference, running from Tuesday 20 — Thurs 22 April 2021, as part of National Stalking Awareness Week.
The conference, Dynamics Between the Stalker and the Victim, brings together global experts to share knowledge around this key societal issue. Speakers include Police and Crime Commissioner for Sussex, Katy Bourne OBE; the president of Victim Support Europe, João Lázaro; head of public protection at Police Scotland, Detective Chief Superintendent Sam McCluskey; former homicide detective in California, Detective Mike Proctor; and associate professor of criminology at Örebro University, Sweden, Prof Susanne Strand. There are also contributions from academics and professionals in this field from other countries including Canada, Sweden and Australia.
The new centre – a partnership between Action Against Stalking and UWS – seeks to conduct and promote innovative, applied, multi-disciplinary research. In its first year, the centre will focus on research and knowledge exchange activity relating to three main themes: the impact of stalking, coercion and control on children and young people; the motivations and impulses associated with perpetrators; and the nature and impact of the online environment on the prevalence of cyber-stalking.
Ross Deuchar, professor of criminology and criminal justice at University of the West of Scotland, and interim director of the centre, said: “I’m delighted to be involved in the launch of the new centre for Action Against Stalking - an international centre against abusive and harmful behaviour. I am pleased that we are able to launch the centre as part of the first-ever international stalking conference, which brings together world-leading stalking experts for a ground-breaking three-day event.
Commenting on the international conference and the new partnership with UWS, Ann Moulds, founder of Action Against Stalking, said: “One in six people experience stalking in a 12-month period. It can happen to anyone, any age, anywhere. Stalking takes place across jurisdictional boundaries. In being the voice for victims of stalking and constantly striving to improve support to them, AAS has a vision to promote research and development on an international basis. We want to encourage research into the broad manifestations of stalking and which reflects the changing context under which stalking sits. In general terms, stalking research written in English is focused in Australia, England and the USA. As stalking is treated as a sub-set of other crimes in the UK, there is an urgent need for robust data specifically on stalking, and which is paramount for both treatment and remediation.
“Having held two UK conferences on stalking, AAS is delighted to join forces with UWS in this first-ever international conference and summit on stalking. We welcome our international cast of speakers and delegates. This is evidence of the interest and commitment across the globe to take a stand against stalking.”
Milan Radosavljevic, vice-principal of research, innovation and engagement at UWS, said: “We are truly excited to have the unique collaboration with the charity Action Against Stalking, starting with the first-ever international stalking conference. The conference will bring together some of the world's leading stalking experts in a united voice to declare a universal zero tolerance approach to stalking.
“We must unite together to develop new solutions and importantly make sure they are effective worldwide. This international conference is a call to action and will be the benchmark for this to happen.
“UWS is tremendously proud to be part of this conference and very excited to be using the event as an opportunity to launch our new Centre for Action Against Stalking - a pioneering partnership with Action Against Stalking.”
Dr Waiyin Hatton, chair of Action Against Stalking, said: “As the chair of AAS and former chair of Court of the University of the West of Scotland, the track-record of collaboration between our two organisations provides the firm foundation to co-establish and co-develop the Centre for Action Against Stalking. We will be utilising both the stalking expertise of AAS and the academic and research expertise of UWS. Launching the centre at the conference and summit at this year’s National Stalking Awareness Week is a major landmark for everyone involved in tackling the heinous offence of stalking.”