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Claire Waxman was stalked for 12 years. Now, she’s using her experiences to help others

Posted by
Hannah Keegan
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Claire Waxman Victims' Comissioner

Work/Life is Stylist’s regular column about the professional routines of successful women. Here, Victims’ Commissioner, Claire Waxman, takes us through her one-day diary, from morning latte to lights-out.

Claire Waxman, 44, is London’s first victims’ commissioner. She lives in the capital with her husband and two children.

MY ALARM GOES OFF…

At 6.30am; I snooze until 6.40am. I switch into work mode from the moment I wake up, checking the news, my emails and Twitter. Then I get the kids up and make toast. I try to get everyone to sit together to eat, and I feed the cats at the same time. It’s a bit of a mad rush. For work, I usually wear a dress and blazer. I drop both the kids off at school and then head in.

MY COMMUTE IS…

Not too bad. Depending on what I’m doing that day, I’ll get the Tube or a train. I use that time to reply to emails and read briefings.

I’M RESPONSIBLE FOR…

Working on behalf of victims to improve their experiences of the justice system and to help access support services in London.

I GOT THE JOB…

Off the back of my own experience – I was stalked for 12 years – and my work in victims’ rights. In 2013, I campaigned for a new stalking law and set up my organisation, Voice for Victims. I then drafted the first victims’ rights bill. When the commissioner role came up in 2017, it felt like it was my job. I wasn’t the typical hire, though, as I hadn’t worked in criminal justice. I came into the role on a three-year, fixed-term contract, which I saw as three years to work at top speed to make as much change as I could. I haven’t stopped since.

Rights and victims laflets. Victims' commisioner
Claire Waxman, Victims Commissioner of London: Her job involves lobbying MPs on behalf of victims.

MY TYPICAL DAY…

Is varied because the job is so big. One day I might be meeting victims; I want to know what parts of the system have failed them and what needs to change so I can put recommendations to the mayor. I suffer from PTSD, so I have to be aware of when my trauma is being triggered – I always try to space out those meetings. Another day, I might be at the Ministry of Justice or Home Office meeting with MPs; lobbying is a key part of what I do.

I’m not very good at stopping for lunch, I have to remind myself that I need to eat. I’ll grab sushi from Itsu or a sandwich from Pret.

In the afternoon, I could be working on research. I recently led the London Rape Review, which looked at the way rape cases are investigated and prosecuted in London. It was groundbreaking because it identified why so few victims are able to access justice and prompted recommendations we’re now seeing echoed in policy.

WHEN I’M TIRED OR STRESSED I…

Eat a lot of chocolate. It’s the running joke in the office.

MY GO-TO SNACK AT WORK IS…

Chocolate, obviously. Always milk.

City Hall London, Victims Commissioner
Claire Waxman, Victims Commissioner of London: She works alongside the Mayor of London at City Hall.

MY MOST MEMORABLE MOMENT…

Was convening the first Victims’ Summit in London. I walked into the Queen Elizabeth II Centre and saw leaders from justice agencies together with victims whose voices were peppered throughout the day.

MY WORST WORK HABIT IS…

Trying to do too much at once.

MY EMAIL INBOX…

Is overflowing – but I often hear from victims who want to use their experience to help others, which really inspires me.

AFTER WORK…

I’m straight into mummy mode: I’ll make dinner, help with homework, chauffeur the kids around. But my work is never over, so I tend to go back to it once they’re in bed. I’ll watch TV and keep one eye on emails. I’m asleep by midnight.

MY PLAN B…

… doesn’t exist. I had a long career running my own therapy practice, and then turned the experience of being stalked into my career. I can’t see myself ever not doing work in this space, but I’d love to do an undercover film on what victims go through with Louis Theroux. The stories I hear are incredible.

Photography: Holly McGlynn

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Hannah Keegan

Hannah Keegan is the features writer at Stylist magazine.

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