BROADBAND and phone providers aren't doing enough to stop cyberstalkers, according to a new report.
Researchers at the University of Bedfordshire's National Centre for Cyber-stalking Research (NCCR) found that a third of cyber-stalking victims feel let down by their service providers.
Just 14.5% of the victims of cyberstalking involved in the research - and twice as many male victims as female - contacted a broadband provider to report harassment.
29% contacted their mobile phone provider.
"Clearly, victims feel there is more that could be done by those providing services," said NCCR co-director Professor Carsten Maple.
Hidden away on their websites, all broadband providers have acceptable use policies.
Generally, those policies include a few lines outlawing cyberstalking-type behavior among customers.
According to Plusnet's, for example, "using Internet access to menace or harass others" is an abuse of service which can result in disconnection.
Virgin Media goes into more detail about what will happen if the broadband is abused (Virgin Media's example is after "making racist Usenet postings").
Their policy sets out a four-stage plan:
a formal warning to yoususpension of your account (with or without notice)restriction of your access to the Services (or any part of the Services)termination of your account.
How often those plans are used, though is another matter.
The study is the result of in-depth interviews with 353 British victims of cyberstalking.
Victims reported a range of health problems arising from their harassment and, astonishingly, 29% of those involved in the research were diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
The majority of cyberstalking victims displayed at least some of the key-symptoms.
"We were amazed by how traumatised some people were who responded to the survey," said Dr Emma Short, one of the report's co-authors.
"One of the cases we spoke to couldn't go to work because her stalker was completely unknown to her.
"She wouldn't stand on the station platform in case she got pushed in front of a train as they were threatening to do.".
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