White Ribbon Day 2023

By Helena Barlow 

November 25th marks White Ribbon Day 2023 and it also marks the start of 16 days of activism to end gender based violence, which runs until Human Rights Day on 10th December.  

On White Ribbon Day we remember all women and girls who have been affected by men’s violence. We're asking all men to #ChangeTheStory and make the White Ribbon Promise to never use, excuse or remain silent about men's violence against women. Sign up to the White Ribbon Promise. 

Male perpetrated violence against women and children is a global issue. It incorporates domestic abuse, coercive control and also stalking and harassment. Domestic abuse is now more widely recognised within relationships, however the extent of post-relationship stalking remains under-researched. It is said that 1 in 5 women have experienced stalking at some point in their lifetime and in 39% of cases the perpetrator is the individual’s ex-partner. 

I am a Lecturer in Social Work at Wrexham University and a current PhD candidate researching women’s experiences of stalking and their interaction with services. The aim of my research is to gain an understanding of the lived experiences of women who have experienced stalking from an ex-partner and to identify both areas of good practice and recommendations for the improvement to the support that women receive. For further information regarding the research please email helena.barlow@glyndwr.ac.uk 

The media reports that two women a week are killed in the UK by their current or former partner, however, academic researchers suggest that the reality is much more startling, with the homicide of at least 10 women a week in the UK due to gender violence and abuse. Stalking is a high risk factor in cases of female homicide (Monckton Smith, Szymanska, & Haile, 2017).  

Stalking is described as a ‘pattern of repeated and intrusive behaviour’ and individuals can experience stalking for many months or even years. It can vary in degree and severity and cause significant psychological and physical harm, impacting on every area of a woman’s life and that of their family. Certain behaviours may appear seemingly harmless in isolation such as the receiving of gifts or repeated telephone calls with a partner who wishes to rekindle their relationship, however, this can quickly develop into a pattern of intrusive behaviour. There is often a culture of tolerance around ex-partner stalking, with women reluctant to seek help, blaming themselves, or not being aware of the services that are available to support them. Stalking is a criminal offence (Protection of Freedom Act 2012) and the law states that a perpetrator can be sentenced to up to 5 years in prison.  

This blog aims to highlight the issue of stalking and to encourage individuals experiencing these behaviours to seek support and speak out.  


Domestic Abuse Safety Unit or call 01978 310203 / complete the online Contact Form 

National Stalking Helpline or call 0808 802 0300 

Paladin stalking advocacy service 




Monckton-Smith, J. (2021). In Control. London: Bloomsbury Publishing. 

Monckton-Smith, J., Szymanska, K. and Haile, Sue. (2017) Exploring the Relationship between Stalking and Homicide. Project Report. University of Gloucestershire in association with Suzy Lamplugh Trust, Cheltenham. https://eprints.glos.ac.uk/4553/.

White Ribbon Day. (2023). ‘Ending violence against women and girls starts when we #ChangeTheStory’. Available from: https://www.whiteribbon.org.uk/white-ribbon-day-2023.