NEW laws creating specific offences and tougher sentences for stalkers should act as reassurance to the victims of these crimes.
Previously, offenders were charged with harassment and other lesser offences but the new legislation takes into account stalking and stalking with a threat of violence which carry maximum sentences of six months and five years respectively.
These amendments mean victims will be spared long campaigns of harassment and should result in more convictions, acting as a deterrent to those who may consider committing a stalking related crime.
Recent figures from the British Crime Survey show that very few reported stalking cases – around two per cent – result in a conviction so it should be viewed as a positive step that the police aim to crack down on these crimes.
Similar changes last year in Scotland resulted in 400 convictions, let’s hope that this new legislation has similar results in our area and throughout the country as a whole.