Following on from the launch of the Black Country Stalking Support Service in April 2018, influential speakers got together once again in April 2019 to reflect one year on.

Speakers included:

– Cath Hannon from the Office of the Police & Crime Commissioner West Midlands officially opened the conference.

– Nikki Penniston and Lorraine Garratley of Black Country Women’s Aid provided an update on the success of the service one year on.

– Jennifer Bean single point of contact (SPOC) for Stalking at West Midlands police outlined the role of the SPOC and how they worked together rover the last year.

– Tia Smith from West Midlands Police outlined the stalking training the force room staff had undergone at West Midlands Police and this has changed the response to victims of stalking.

– Louise from Paladin to present on the service Paladin provides and her role as Young Person’s ISAC

– Nick Gazzard delivered Hollie’s story and the work that the Trust has done on stalking and safeguarding with Hollie Guard.

Black Country Women’s Aid an independent charity which has supported survivors of abuse and exploitation in the West Midlands for 30 years. The Black Country Stalking Support Service is a specialist service supporting women and girls affected by stalking across the Black Country. The service can support all victims, whether or not they know their stalker. This was the first specialist regional service to offer support both inside and outside the context of domestic abuse.

As part of the service they provide training, support and partnership work to help agencies and professionals recognise stalking and work with victims.

The service is now growing in to a larger region in the West Midlands and can now offer more support to young women in the area.

Having spoken at the launch event in 2018, Nick was again able to deliver the important messages from the Hollie Gazzard Trust, talk about Hollie’s story and provide an update on the important work he has been doing over the last 12 months.

Nick said: ‘’Thanks again to Black Country Women’s Aid for having me to speak about the Hollie Gazzard Trust. The work they have done is incredible. We need to make sure that victims of stalking are reporting their cases to the relevant authorities and the Black Country Stalking Support Service offer the advice, support and guidance for those at risk. Not only that, but they can assist during the criminal justice process and liaise with agencies to support victims. The crime is horribly under-reported, which is getting better, but with more projects like this we can begin to increase those numbers of reported incidents – whether you know your stalker or not. It’s great that the service can now spread to cover a wider area and help more victims.’’

A Neighbourhood Officer in attendance said: ‘’Nick Gazzard is an inspiration to all and his presentation dedicated to his daughter was brilliant! It was factual and interesting, as well as portraying the real life story of Hollie Gazzard. He should be very proud of himself and his team and all the hard work that has put in to help educate others and support people in similar situations.’’