Figures released by the British Crime Survey recently indicated that at least nine per cent of women and seven per cent of men have been stalked in the last year. A substantial number of victims are stalked by an ex-partner who may resort to persistent phone calls, text messages, letters and unwanted contact through social media such as twitter or Facebook. The technological age we live in has made stalking even more prevalent and complex. This complexity has resulted in harassment laws introduced in 1997 being rendered inadequate to deal with rapidly changing technology thus making it an even bigger challenge for victims and those who work with them, such as police and other agencies.
New laws that came into effect in the latter part of 2012 which made stalking a criminal offence, were welcomed by those working in law enforcement. This now allows the police to provide protection even where has been no physical violence. The fear of violence which has been included as part of the stalking law means that police and prosecutors can take action where the stalker causes the victim to fear and make changes to their lifestyle as a result of the stalking. The new legislation followed “Clare‘s law” which came into effect after years of campaigning by the family of a victim who was killed by a man who trowelled the internet for women.
The progress made through the implementation of these laws that help protect victims of stalking and domestic violence, will help plug the gaps that existed when the only law that was available was not broad enough to cater for this digital error we now live in.
- New bill would increase protection for stalking victims (q13fox.com)
- The stalking cure: how to rehabilitate a stalker (guardian.co.uk)