In partnership with the Department of Criminology at the University of Leicester
About the conference
Timed to coincide with the publication of a new textbook Young People, Stalking Awareness and Domestic Abuse, which has been produced in partnership with the Alice Ruggles Trust, this year’s conference featured a number of speakers who contributed to the book, reports from current research projects relating to adolescent stalking, and workshops on interrelated subjects including honour-based violence, and tackling stalking in the military.
As ever, our aim was to bring together practitioners and academics to promote dialogue and cooperation that will improve strategies for protecting stalking victims and managing perpetrators. This year, we were especially keen to encourage the attendance of safeguarding professionals from a wide range of services.
As in 2022, the conference was a hybrid, both in person at College Court conference centre, University of Leicester, and on-line.
Keynote speakers and workshops
Our keynote speakers and workshop themes included:
Maria Mellins: “Young People, Stalking Awareness and Domestic Abuse”
As one of its editors, Maria presented some of the key themes from the book of this title that was launched at the conference. Maria is Associate Professor in Criminology at St Mary’s University, where she supervises PhD students in the areas of stalking, abuse and the media. Her suite of Ofqual- and CPD-accredited talking and abuse awareness qualifications (SAfEE), produced in collaboration with the Alice Ruggles Trust, are offered to seducation providers throughout the UK.
Joey: Adolescent stalking—a victim’s experience
Joey provided an impactive first-hand account of adolescent stalking from someone who was a victim when she was younger. She had already bravely spoken to us about her experiences in our podcast series, where she describes imposter syndrome as feeling like: ‘other people have real problems, and my problem is someone loves me too much’.
Rachael Worthington: “Mislabelling of adolescent stalking”
Rachel is a Senior Lecturer at both Manchester Metropolitan University and the University of Central Lancashire as well as a registered Forensic Psychologist with the HCPC. She discussed how mislabelling adolescents as engaging in ‘stalking’ behaviour could pose serious implications in terms of the development of their self-concept and developmental pathway.
Fiona Drouet: “Tragedy to change: achieving safer campuses for all students through effective prevention, intervention and support”
Fiona is founder and CEO of the Scottish charity EmilyTest. Her daughter Emily took her own life aged 18 after being subjected to a relentless campaign of physical, psychological and sexual abuse by a fellow student while at University. EmilyTest campaigns to raise awareness of Gender-based violence (GBV) and stimulate change in policy, professional practice, intervention and support in Scottish education.
Jo Roberts, Chris Leahy and Tracie McDermott: “Tackling domestic abuse in the armed forces”
This interactive workshop provided attendees with an insight into the work taking place to address domestic abuse, including stalking, in the armed forces. Key areas of discussion included: prevalence, barriers to reporting, military culture and the Defence domestic abuse action plan “No Defence for Abuse”. Jo, who is Assistant Head Safeguarding Adults, leads on all areas of Safeguarding Adults policy in the armed forces. Chris is a safeguarding advisor for Defence and leads on domestic abuse policy and strategy.
Laura Scarr and Morag Kennedy: “Stalking in hands-on occupations”
Morag holds a PhD in Criminology as well as qualifications in Biomedical Sciences and Forensic Psychobiology. Her research focuses upon offline and online harm in relation to intimate partner homicide, as well as secondary victimisation. Her current projects include intimate image disclosure in relation to IPA, and stalking within hands-on occupations.
Louise: “Paladin National Stalking Advocacy Service: Supporting and Engaging Young People”
Louise is the Chief Operating Officer at Paladin National Stalking Advocacy Service. Over the past 25 years Louise has worked in generic youth work settings, in schools, with young people in care, withhomeless young people, and with those experiencing domestic abuse and stalking. Louise is an experienced trainer and public speaker on stalking, domestic abuse, working with and safeguarding young people.
Sue Hills: “Educating Young People about the Dangers of Stalking”
It is vital that young people are educated about the dangers of controlling behaviour and stalking. Sue, who is Alice’s mum and a co-founder of the Alice Ruggles Trust, talked about the suite of resources that the Trust has produced to educate young people in these areas and how these can be incorporated into mainstream education.
Rahmanara Chowdhury: “Applying the web model of DVA to stalking and honour-based abuse”
Rahmanara is a Chartered Psychologist and Senior Lecturer in Forensic Psychology at Nottingham Trent University. Her research focuses on abuse within a number of different contexts including faith contexts. This workshop focused on how stalking and honour-based abuse victims can be better supported through use of the web model of DVA.
Catherine O’Sullivan: “Stalking and Harassment in Ireland”
Catherine is Vice Dean in the School of Law at University College, Cork. Her focus in this workshop was on why the law was reformed in Ireland, comparing it with the law in England and Wales, and sharing results from an online survey.
Arrival, registration and coffee / On-line registration
Introduction and opening — Clive Ruggles
Keynote Adolescent stalking: a victim’s experience — Joey
Keynote Young people, stalking awareness and domestic abuse — Maria Mellins
- Applying the web model of DVA to stalking and honour-based abuse— Rahmanara Chowdhury (A)
- Tackling domestic abuse in the armed forces — Jo Roberts, Chris Leahy and Tracie McDermott (B)
- Stalking and harrassment in Ireland: law reform and results from a national survey — Catherine O’Sullivan (C)
- Stalking in hands-on occupations — Laura Scarr and Morag Kennedy (A)
- Findings from MSc students doing a range of projects relating to adolescent stalking (B)
- Educating Young People about the Dangers of Stalking — Sue Hills (C)
Keynote Mislabelling of adolescent stalking — Rachel Worthington
- Tragedy to change: achieving safer campuses for all students through effective prevention, intervention and support — Fiona Drouet (A)
- Paladin National Stalking Advocacy Service: supporting and engaging young people — Louise, Maariya and Jade from Paladin (B)
- Educating Young People about the Dangers of Stalking — Sue Hills (C)
Summation from the day — Rachael Wheatley
Close; coffee and refreshments available on-site
The conference was held at College Court, a conference centre with hotel accommodation run by the University of Leicester.
On-line attendees had access to all sessions, including their choice of workshops running in parallel.