Monday, 26 November 2012 13:31
Today (26th November) two specific criminal offences of stalking have come into force in England and Wales for the first time. The new offences sit alongside ones of harassment in the Protection from Harassment Act 1997. They are designed to provide extra protection for victims, highlight the serious impact stalking can have on them and help bring more perpetrators to justice.
The new stalking offences are:
- Section 2A - A course of conduct in breach of the prohibition on harassment in section 1(1) of the Protection from Harassment Act (1997) and the course of conduct amounts to stalking.
- Section 4A - A course of conduct which amounts to stalking and causes fear of violence or serious alarm or distress which has a substantial adverse effect on the victims usual day-to-day activities.
- The Act also provides a non-exhaustive list of examples of behaviour that are associated with stalking.
Paula Hardy, Chief Executive of Welsh Women's Aid, said:
'We welcome the two new criminal offences of stalking that come into force today. Any extra measures to protect victims is great news for the 1 in 5 women who experience stalking in this country. The new offences also bring England and Wales into line with Scotland's approach to this damaging crime. Evidence from Scotland has shown that stalking laws like these have a significant and positive impact, and we hope to see the same effects here, with victims having greater protection and more perpetrators being brought to justice.'