The extensive knowledge and understanding built up by the National Centre for Cyberstalking Research (NCCR) at the University of Bedfordshire has provided the basis for decisions, plans and training programmes by UK government and official bodies including the National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC) stalking working party seeking to understand, counter and legislate for cyberstalking. The Centre is interdisciplinary in nature and draws upon the expertise of a number of experts working in different fields including computer science, psychology, sociology and law.
Public presentations as well as extensive international media coverage of the work conducted by the NCCR has resulted in an increased appreciation of, and public debate on, the nature and dangers of cyberstalking, along with potential protection options for victims. It has also contributed to raising awareness of the subsequent human distress caused by online harassment while supporting the work of agencies to promote the growth of services that offer responses to it.
As well as measurable research outputs, the Centre has been called on to advise policy makers and parliamentarians such as: the provision of expert witness evidence concerning the experience and impacts of cyberstalking, and also the experience of reporting incidents of cyberstalking/harassment to the Police at the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Stalking and Harassment in 2014 and 2015.
The NCCR has additionally given invited expert evidence based on the ECHO report to the Justice Union Parliamentary Group (JUPG) inquiry into stalking law reform. The centre is a member of the National Stalking Consortium. The Consortium was formed in June 2014 and represents the collaboration of organisations working in the area of stalking and harassment. The Consortium’s overall aim is to improve support to victims of stalking throughout the UK.
Dr Emma Short CSci AFBPsS