The law states a person whose conduct causes another to fear, at least twice, that violence will be used against them is guilty of a harassment if they know or ought to know their actions will cause fear to the other person. This type of harassment is an either way offence and cases can be heard in either the Magistrates’ Court or Crown Court.

MPs and peers have now said that a new law specifically aimed at stalking should be introduced, as harassment laws are inadequate.

Figures from the British Crime Survey suggest there may be up to 120,000 instances of stalking every year in England and Wales but only 2% of cases result in convictions.

In Scotland stalking was made a criminal offence in 2010, which has resulted in 400 alleged stalkers being prosecuted last year.

Harassment and stalking can be seen as two separate entities and not necessarily intertwined with one another. It will be interesting to see how parliament deals with this situation…

Jenni Hancocks

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