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The causes of suicide are complex and multifaceted. As mental health charity Samaritans notes on its website: “There is no simple explanation for why someone chooses to die by suicide and it is rarely due to one particular factor. Mental health problems are important influences, as well as alcohol and substance misuse, feeling desperate, helpless or without hope.”Advocates for stalking survivors believe that police must improve their handling of such cases. "Many women do call the police about the abuse, like Justene Reece, but the police rarely see the pattern of abuse when they attend 'the incident' nor do they ask the right questions,” Laura Richards of anti-stalking charity Paladin says. “If a victim feels that they are not believed and feel helpless and hopeless and that there is no end to the abuse, they may take their own life.”Many stalkers and domestic abuse perpetrators are serial offenders, she says, and introducing a Stalkers Register in the UK would track and manage such individuals: “The Stalkers Register is vital to protect women and girls from serious harm and homicide." Previous data unearthed by Broadly under FOI laws revealed that 49 women have been killed by stalkers, partners, or ex-partners in the last three years in the UK—even after reporting them to the police for their harassment.
"I remember thinking to myself, I need to fight. Remember who you are. There’s got to be a way to stop this."
Five years on from her suicide attempt, Hopkins has moved on from her stalking ordeal and no longer feels the same desperation or hopelessness. As she recovered in hospital, Hopkins decided that she wasn’t going to let Mantova win. “I remember thinking to myself, I need to fight. Remember who you are. There’s got to be a way to stop this.”She credits the support she received as part of a community of stalking survivors backed by Paladin as helping her to move forward. “It made me feel like I’m not on my own any more. There are other people who’ve been through it and know how it feels.” Still, Hopkins was reduced to tears when she saw a news report about Reece’s suicide. “I knew exactly what she was going through,” she says. “I knew exactly how she felt.”If you are being stalked and you are based in the UK, you can call Paladin on 020 3866 4107. If you are based in the US, you can call the Stalking Resource Center at the National Center for Victims of Crime on 855-484-2846.