Government Gives Police New Powers To Protect Victims Of Stalking
New Stalking Protection Orders (SPOs) will allow courts in England and Wales to move quicker to ban stalkers from contacting victims or visiting their home, place of work or study. This will grant victims more time to recover from their ordeal.
In addition to banning perpetrators from approaching or contacting their victims, SPOs can also force stalkers to seek professional help.
According to the Crime Survey for England and Wales, almost one in five women over the age of 16 have experienced stalking, as well as almost one in ten men.
The Orders will usually last for a minimum of 2 years, with a breach counting as a criminal offence that can result in up to 5 years in prison.
In addition to the SPOs, courts will also be able to impose an interim SPO to provide immediate protection for victims while a decision is being made.
SPOs came into effect yesterday, Monday 20th January 2020 and have the support of anti-stalking campaigners and law enforcement.
Today is an important step forward in the way stalking is handled in England and Wales and an acknowledgement of the suffering victims of stalking can face.
We welcome the introduction of Stalking Protection Orders and hope to see the new order complement the existing legislation to ensure that victims receive a proactive response when they come forward and report stalking.
Suky Bhaker Acting Chief Executive of The Suzy Lamplugh Trust
Alongside the introduction of Stalking Protection Orders, the Home Office also helps fund the National Stalking Helpline, run by the Suzy Lamplugh Trust.
Support For Those Affected By Stalking
If you are affected by stalking, you can receive help and support from the following organisations:
- If you are over 18, and would like support please call 0800 408 1552 or visit the Refuge Warwickshire website.
- Victim Support Warwickshire – call your local victim care team in Warwickshire on 01926 682 693. Lines are open 9am-5pm Monday to Friday.
- The National Stalking Helpline is run by The Suzy Lamplugh Trust. Call their helpline on 0808 802 0300
- Further advice on how to protect yourself from ‘Cyber Stalking’ can be found on our Cyber Safe Warwickshire advice page.
- In an emergency, always call 999.