New guidelines on stalking and harassment

News|September 15th 2014

The government has released new guidelines on the prosecution of stalking and harassment cases.

The newly published ‘protocol’ is a joint publication of the Crown Prosecution Service and the Association of Chief Police Officers. It is intended to encourage a consistent approach to the prosecution of offences which lacked a clear legal definition before the introduction of the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012. This allowed courts to convict individuals whose behaviour was not sufficiently extreme for a ‘fear of violence’ conviction, but which nevertheless caused alarm or distress.

The announcement was accompanied by new figures highlighting the number of prosecutions since the Act came into force on 31 October last year. A total of 743 cases have been brought to court and there has also been a 20 per cent rise in the prosecution of all stalking and harassment offences, using older legislation as well as the 2012 act.

Director of Public Prosecutions Alison Saunders said:

“It is encouraging to see more offenders being brought to justice but police and prosecutors need to do more still to protect the victims of this pernicious crime.”

She added:

“Stalking and harassment is about the control of others and its impact can be devastating. Stalking creates an environment of continual fear with many victims feeling not only in physical danger but also suffering psychological distress as a result.

Read the new protocol here.

In May, the Crown Prosecution Service released new guidelines designed to encourage the detection of domestic violence directed towards teenagers and elderly people.

Photo by Horia Varlan via Flickr under a Creative Commons licence

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  1. Andrew says:

    Victim, victim, victim.

    They mean “complainant” and should say so.

    • Stitchedup says:

      Absolutely Andrew, but this presumption of victimhood plays out as a presumption of guilty until proven innocent for the accused in court.

      The irony of this is that the guidance comes under the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012, and is designed to allow “courts to convict individuals whose behaviour was not sufficiently extreme for a ‘fear of violence’ conviction, but which nevertheless caused alarm or distress.”

      Anybody can claim to have been caused “alarm or distress” for the most trivial of reasons…. say something a person doesn’t like and they can claim to have been caused alarm or distress. So a person exercising his/her right to freedom of speech/expression could quite easily find themselves convicted under a law you would expect to protect the very freedoms they are exercising. No doubt this law will be targeted against men in the main, and will be used and abused just as non-mols are. We’ll almost certainly find most cases being brought before a suitably indoctrinated bench of magistrates or district judge…… i.e. more summary justice for the sake of feminist political correctness.

      I was served an harassment warning for daring to ask for items of personal property to be returned that had been taken without my consent. It appears that in the eyes of the WPC that issued the warning, I was more in the wrong for asking for my property to be returned than my ex was for taking them…. absurd!!!!

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