Who is Watching You - Oxford Union

Stalking and Digital Abuse Awareness Event at the Oxford Union

Freshers week 2014  The leading UK Digital stalking and abuse experts will be speaking at the Oxford Union tonight to inform and empower students about the technological aspects of stalking, harassment and improving their own digital safety.

Stalking is far more common than most people think affecting 1 in 6 women and 1 in 10 men, it is on the increase as advancing and accessible technology makes ever easier. Stalkers no longer need to physically follow someone they can simply track them using their own mobile phone, they can use spyware and turn on their targets web cam and watch them. Stalkers can set up false online accounts in their victims name, access their email account, or use ‘spoof’ text services to send abusive messages alienating their friends and family.  

Everyone is a potential target for harassment and the impact is catastrophic, it ruins lives, reputations, looses jobs, breaks up families and relationships and leads to mental health problems, suicide, murder and rape. Stalking is psychological terrorism.

Using extracts and examples from actual cases, Jennifer Perry, the UK’s foremost Digital Stalking and Threat expert, along with her colleagues Harry Fletcher, leading Criminal Justice Campaigner, Alexis Bowater, Anti-stalking Campaigner and Dr Emma Short Co-Founder of the 'National Centre for Cyberstalking Research and Psychology Lecturer will detail the destruction stalkers cause and why they are so dangerous. Jennifer will also talk about the warning signs of stalking whilst Harry will cover recent changes in legislation, the present state of the law and the current domestic violence bill that he is championing through parliament.

Harry Fletcher a founder of a new not-for-profit, Digital-Trust said “The students attending tonight’s event are living digital lives. We hope to help them identify and minimise their risks.”

Speakers Additional Information

Alexis Bowater: Alexis Bowater, owns successful media company Bowater Communications. She is an active campaigner promoting women in business and stalking issues. She has campaigned and worked with the Council of Europe to insure that the Istanbul Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence contains adequate provision to address stalking.

Dr. Emma Short: As Co-Founder at the National Centre for Cyberstalking Research and a leading researcher on online harassment Emma is one of the few researchers looking into the impact cyberstalking and the behaviour of the perpetrators. Her research in 2011 identified that the impact of cyberstalking was equivalent to that of offline stalking with many victims experiencing significant levels of PTSD.

Harry Fletcher: Harry Fletcher is a criminal justice expert and parliamentary campaigner. Harry was the Assistant General Secretary of NAPO for over 20 years. His role as a criminal justice expert has been to campaign and influence for changes in government policy. He was instrumental in getting the new stalking law through parliament. His approach was to have parliamentary enquiry into stalking and then campaign for a new law. It was very effective and the new law passed in record time. Harry is currently working on a new Domestic Violence law.

Jennifer Perry: Jennifer Perry has over 20 years in the tech industry and has worked on e-crime issues since 2005. She wrote the UK Guidelines on Digital Risks for victims of domestic violence and stalking in 2012. She was special Cyberstalking advisor to the NSS (Network for Surviving Stalking) has been running Digital-Stalking.Com on a voluntary basis for the past four years. Later this year with her colleagues, she will be launching the Digital-Trust to work with the criminal justice system and to help victims of digital abuse.

About Digital-Trust

The Digital-Trust is a new not-for-profit organisation that brings technologists together with those professionals working within the criminal justice system and the associated support charities. This new organisation will provide an accessible central resource for other organisations struggling to keep abreast of the changing nature of Digital abuse through technology. The Trust will continuously develop new advice, tools and guidance to combat the developing risks to victims in this new digital age. The new organisation will formally launch in the autumn of 2014.

For further information on any of the topics mentioned in this release, or to arrange interviews with any of the speakers please contact Kathleen Lockwood at the press office on 0845 833 8292, or email press@digital-trust.org.


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