Conference on stalking aims for closer integration of services

Representatives from the police, CPS, health and probation services together with academics from criminology, forensic psychology and other disciplines engaged in research related to stalking are gathering at the University of Leicester on Thursday 10 October 2019. The Alice Ruggles Trust, set up to combat stalking following Alice’s murder, is holding its first conference to mark the third anniversary of her death.

Alice Ruggles was murdered by an ex-partner on 12 October 2016 following a relentless campaign of stalking. The case featured extensively in the local and national media and has been the subject of a number of TV documentaries. The Alice Ruggles Trust, set up by Alice's family – including her father who is Emeritus Professor of Archaeoastronomy at the University – is raising both professional and public awareness as well as campaigning for improved legal measures in dealing with stalking.

The Domestic Homicide Review into Alice’s case, published in March 2019, identified numerous failings by the police, army and other agencies and contains a range of recommendations at the local and national level, including for the Home Office and MoD. Risk management in stalking is a very complex field and it is clear that current practice could be better integrated with current academic research across the board.

By bringing together a range of practitioners and academics the Trust hopes to stimulate better integration and to improve best practice. The conference aims to adopt recommendations that will have practical impact at a national level, stimulate further integration between relevant groups in order to improve strategies to tackle stalking and thus make victims safer.

Keynote speakers at the event are Karen Morgan-Read, Violence Against Women and Girls Strategy Manager and Senior Policy Advisor, Crown Prosecution Service; Jane Monckton-Smith, Senior Lecturer in Criminology at the University of Gloucestershire; and Lorraine Sheridan, Senior Lecturer in Psychology at Curtin University, Perth, Australia. Dr Sheridan wrote her PhD on 'The Psychology of Stalking' at Leicester in the late 1990s before working as a Lecturer here 2000-2007.

The conference features six workshop sessions led by an impressive range of specialists focusing on more specific topics. These include educating and equipping front-line staff, multiple-agency approaches to risk management, cyberstalking, challenges faced by employers, learning lessons from Domestic Homicide Reviews, and raising awareness among young people.

The conference, ‘Stalking: Minimising the Risk’, which is being held in the University’s Stamford Court conference centre, has been organised by the Alice Ruggles Trust in collaboration with our Department of Criminology and with the support of Gateshead Community Safety Board.