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New Government plans to strengthen protection from stalkers

The Government has recently announced its plans to do more to combat stalking.

Despite stalking prosecutions having increased greatly over the last three years (largely due to the much more robust stalking offences incorporated into the Protection from Harassment Act 1997 by Section 111 of the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012) there is still a perceived gap in protection in some cases from when the stalking behaviour begins to when the Police and the Crown Prosecution Service can intervene.

As a result a consultation on Stalking Protection Orders has been issued to ask members of the public who have been affected by stalking (as well as organisations representing stalking victims and other criminal justice professionals) to submit their views on what these Orders should do to protect those at risk and how they should operate.

If you would like to contribute to the consultation you can email your views, or alternatively fill out the online form. The Government consultation on Stalking Protection Orders closes on 30 January 2016.

Stalking is, sadly, very widespread and often makes use of more and more technologically advanced methods. The consultation’s list (which is by no means exhaustive) highlights the following behaviours:

• Unwanted communications in the form of telephone calls, letters, e-mail, fax, SMS instant text messaging graffiti, social networking websites
• Loitering near the victim or where they live or work
• Spying on the victim
• Following the victim
• Accosting the victim in private or public
• Entering the victim’s home or workplace
• Sending or leaving materials or gifts
• Ordering or cancelling goods and services
• Making vexatious complaints
• Threats
• Property damage
• Violence

The proposed Orders are a welcome sign that the Government and the legal system are doing more to protect individuals from stalking and other coercive behaviour that has historically not been prosecuted with the same success rate as other crimes. However, it’s vital that anyone who believes they are being stalked to contact the Police.

For more information or assistance, please contact our Family Team on 0161 969 3131.