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More than 1 in 5 women and almost 1 in 10 men aged 16 to 59 have been victims of stalking since the age of 16. Between 2017 and 2018 there were 1,616 prosecutions for stalking offences, with 73% related to domestic abuse (the Crime Survey for England and Wales).
On 20th January 2020 the Stalking Protection Act 2019 introduced Stalking Protection Orders. A Stalking Protection Order is an Order to prevent a person from carrying out acts associated with stalking (including domestic stalking).
The Police can apply for a Stalking Protection Order to the Magistrates Court and interim Stalking Protection Orders can be made by the Court to protect victims deemed at immediate risk of harm until there has been determination of the “full” Stalking Protection Order.
The Police should consider applying for an Order for a victim where it appears a person has carried out acts associated with stalking, the person poses a risk of stalking to another and there is reasonable cause to believe the proposed Order is necessary to protect the victim from that risk.
A prior conviction for stalking is not required for the Police to apply for such Order and an application can be made even if a prosecution is not pursued by the Police.
There is no need for the victim to have reported stalking so long as it is considered there is a risk of harm.
The Police can request that prohibitions (such as the person entering certain locations or defined areas where the victim resides or frequently visits) and/or requirements (e.g. to attend an appropriate programme or receive treatment) are included within the Order to protect the victim from the risk of stalking. However, the final decision as to the terms of the Order is made by the Magistrates.
It is a criminal offence to breach a Stalking Protection Order.
The victim may be able to apply for other protective orders in addition (such as a Non-Molestation Order) depending on the victim’s circumstances.
If you require any advice or assistance in relation to domestic abuse, please contact our Family team here at Ramsdens. The team will provide the reassurance and help you may need and can connect you with a number of different support agencies in the local area.