How new legislation aims to protect victims from stalkers
- AuthorClive Masters
On 20th January 2020, Stalking Protection Orders came into effect. These were introduced by the Stalking Protection Act 2019 to protect victims from harassment or intimidation from strangers or non-family members. Under this new legislation, the Police can make an Application to a Magistrates’ Court for an Order that bans stalkers from contacting victims or from visiting their home/ place of work or study. Any breaches of the Order could amount to a criminal penalty and prison sentences could be imposed.
Stalking Protection Act 2019
The purpose of this Act is to protect the victims of stalking. According to some statistics, as many as 1 in 5 women over the age of 16 have experienced stalking, as well as almost 1 in 10 men. A stalking order will remain in place for a minimum of 2 years and a breach would amount to a criminal offence, which could result in up to 5 years imprisonment.Previously, victims of so called ‘Stranger Stalking’ have been unable to obtain protection; the new Act means that protection is now available.
Stalking and domestic abuse
Victims of domestic abuse are currently protected by the imposition of a Non Molestation Order made under the Family Law Act 1996. This only gives protection from domestic abuse from family members. The new Act gives the Police power to protect victims of stalking from perpetrators who may not necessarily be family members.
This does not prevent victims of harassment (or any other form of abuse from their partners or ex-partners) from seeking the remedy of a Non Molestation Order, for which legal aid is available if you are financially eligible.