Kathleen’s efforts help stalking victims

FORMER police officer Kathleen Gallagher has been awarded a certificate of merit for her efforts in producing current information and research for victims of stalking.

Kathleen received her certificate last week on behalf of the Central West Women’s Health Centre at the Australian Crime and Violence Prevention Awards in Paramatta.

Now working for Central West Women’s Health Centre as the stalking project officer, Kathleen saw a need for new documentation due to the change in legislation and advances in technology.

“A lot of the research was from 2000 and the legislation changed in 2007. I found the information was not current and did not include how people can stalk with technology,” Ms Gallagher said.

Being a former police officer and now working specifically with stalking, it was important for her to have the latest information and be able to give victims the correct advise.

Updating information was a massive task and took her two years to complete and she was assisted by colleagues Tracy Sherman and Michelle Enright.

The stalking project was made possible through funding from the NSW Premiers and Cabinet Office for Women.

Not only did she finish the project, her exceptional work earned the merit award, which recognises benchmark projects that reduce violence and other types of crime in Australia.

With 14 years experience as a police officer, Kathleen has seen first hand how stalking can endanger individuals and families.

“Stalking is an increasingly violent crime affecting women and children in our community. Through this project I sought to improve awareness and the skills of community service providers, educators and counsellors to assist members of our community affected by stalking.

“I also wanted to directly assist victims of stalkers,” Ms Gallagher said.

Kathleen organised a state wide conference on stalking in March last year which attracted 108 delegates. The keynote speaker was David Vaile who specialises in cyberspace law.

Next came writing the stalking resource manual. The manual covered such things are stalking and domestic violence, stalking legislation, technology stalking and stalking and sexual assault.

“I also wrote an information booklet specifically designed to assist women who are the victim of a stalker and designed a website. It is important victims have information and find out what they can do,” she said.

People wanting more information can visit www.stalkingresources.org.au