Speaking as the Chair of Paladin National Stalking Service, Rachel said there was ”nowhere near enough convictions of people under these offences and that too often the police trivialise the experience of victims”.
Rachel’s comments came the day after a Somerset man had pleaded guilty to one count of stalking involving serious alarm/distress after six years of harassing BBC Points West presenter Alex Lovell.
“I hope the terror Lovell will have experienced, the threat of rape by an unknown person meaning that anyone on the street being a potential suspect, will be reflected in a robust sentence.
“In 2012 the sentencing powers were doubled from 5 years to 10 years as a result of our campaigning, often these are not taken advantage of by the courts.”
This story comes after last month the Stalking Protection Order bill has made it through the House of Commons and had its first reading in the House of Lords.
This legislation will give the police powers to ban alleged stalkers from contacting their victims, before the behaviour has escalated or whilst evidence is collected for a criminal case.
Speaking to the reporter after the case was heard, Rachel added “Though reporting of stalking crimes are way up, there is nowhere near enough convictions of people under these offences and that too often the police trivialise the experience of victims.
“Paladin offer training but that can only go so far when it is a culture of misogyny within the police force which means that domestic violence and crimes primarily against women are not taken seriously.”
It is a particular victory that Hawthorn was brought to justice considering the difficulty in protecting victims of ‘stranger stalking’ cases, it is hoped the new law will give more protection in these instances.
The full article can be read on the Bower News MA website by clicking here
If you are experiencing stalking or harassment you should ensure that you keep a diary of the behaviour and also the affect that the behaviour is having on you as this will be relevant in terms of which criminal charges are brought. It is also important that the behaviour is reported to the police and that your friends, family and work colleagues are aware of the situation as they may notice things that you do not.
Do not destroy any evidence and think about ways in which you can gather evidence. Ensure you receive expert advice from Watson Ramsbottom and other support services such as Paladin – The National Stalking Advocacy Service – 0207 840 8960.
Finally, never make contact or respond to your stalker and ensure that the Police and Support Services carry out a stalking risk assessment in relation to your case.
For further advice visit our Stalking, Cyber Stalking and Harassment page.
If you are concerned or would like some confidential legal advice, Contact us on 01254 67 22 22, by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by filling out our contact us form and somebody will be in touch.