Prime Minister David Cameron has announced that stalking is to officially become a criminal offence.
The Prime Minister, who met with a number of stalking victims yesterday at No 10 said: “Stalking is an abhorrent crime. It makes life a living hell for the victims – breaking up relationships, forcing the victims to move house, making them feel they are being watched 24 hours of the day. That is why we are explicitly criminalising stalking, to make sure that justice is done, protect the victims and show beyond doubt that stalking is a crime.”
The move to officially make stalking a more serious crime came after a parliamentary enquiry called for it to be made an offence as soon as possible in a bid to prevent harassment and intimidation from turning into murder.
MPs and peers have said that whilst the new law is a positive step in the right direction, it is not enough to protect victims and a reform of the system is still needed.
According to shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper, rapid progress is needed, as is a law which is strong enough, “half-hearted measures won’t be enough,” she said.
The change in how stalking is seen by the criminal justice system was also prompted by a year-long campaign by the charity Protection Against Stalking, and the probation union Napo.
Assistant general secretary at Napo, Harry Fletcher, said: “It is essential that any new legislation ensures that victims are properly protected and perpetrators receive adequate sentences and attend programmes that combat their obsessive behaviour.”
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