On Friday 3 May, the busy team at the Trust took a moment to commemorate the day that would have been Suzy Lamplugh’s 58th birthday. Instead of being alive to celebrate with her family and friends, Suzy has been missing since 1986 and was declared legally dead in 1993. The Trust was established the same year that Suzy went missing by her parents, Paul and Diana. Their mission was to help people, particularly women, to feel safe and to be safe from harassment, aggression and violence, including while at work. Since then, the Trust’s work on personal safety has expanded to include campaigning for and supporting victims of stalking, as well as providing training on safety for lone working scenarios and on stalking awareness and pioneering innovative programmes such as MASIP (see details below).

Our hope is that the work being done by Suzy Lamplugh Trust is helping to prevent other families from suffering the awful loss experienced by the Lamplugh family 33 years ago.

Spring 2019 saw us preparing for our Stay Safe at Work conference, which took place on 22 May. The aim of the event was to contribute to practical solutions to keep people safer at work. Discussions focused on developing ‘Suzy’s Charter for Workplace Safety’, and how this can be used to reduce the prevalence of violence and aggression directed at staff in the workplace.

We’re also celebrating the successful completion of National Stalking Awareness Week 2019. During the April week of activities, we released new research which illuminated just how frightening and traumatic the experience of being stalked is for victims. The research found a strong correlation between the psychological trauma of being stalked and experiencing symptoms consistent with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The study found that 96% of the stalking victims surveyed in the study reported feeling very frightened; 91% reported that they suffered from mental health problems following the experience of being stalked, and 78% experienced symptoms indicating that a patient should be assessed for PTSD. While stalking can lead to physical violence, even where this is not present stalking can cause serious fear, anxiety and distress for victims. We plan to build on this research as part of our ongoing programmes. We will continue to campaign for better protections for victims of stalking, as well as access to specialist mental health services to help victims rebuild their lives.

Our work on the groundbreaking multi-agency stalking intervention (MASIP) programme also continues. This initial three-site pilot project aims to better manage the risk posed by stalking perpetrators by bringing together victim advocates, healthcare professionals, police officers and probation officers to develop effective intervention strategies to reduce reoffending. This programme takes place alongside a robust criminal justice process. Suzy Lamplugh Trust hopes that, following the successful completion of this first stage of the MASIP project in 2020, its work will continue and be expanded to provide better protection for victims of stalking across the UK.

Suzy Lamplugh Trust has run the National Stalking Helpline since 2010, supporting over 30,000 victims of stalking, an insidious crime that affects 1 in 5 women, and 1 in 10 men.

Elsewhere, we continue to support vulnerable young people who are care-leavers or who have experienced homelessness, to build up their personal safety skills and work together to raise awareness of personal safety issues affecting young people. 

I and the rest of the team are therefore very proud and excited about the many important aspects of our work and the support we provide through training, advice and advocacy.

We believe that our mission of keeping people safe is more crucial than ever, 33 years after Suzy’s disappearance. While progress has certainly been made on key areas during this time, particularly within the Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) sector, much more still needs to be done. We will keep working to protect vulnerable people from violence and harm.

Of all that we have achieved so far this year, we look forward to building on our ongoing mission with staff, volunteers and friends of Suzy Lamplugh Trust, and working together with our partners and collaborators to promote personal safety across all aspect of life.

By combining work on policy, engagement with key services including the police and healthcare, campaigning and practical support, we hope that 2019 will see continued progress on training, supporting victims and ensuring people are, and feel safer.

Written by Acting CEO, Suky Bhaker.