Stalking victims urged to report offences swiftly, says Attorney General

26 Apr 2024 09:20 AM

Stalking victims have been urged to report offending swiftly and with confidence to prevent the risk of further harm during National Stalking Awareness Week.

Attorney General Victoria Prentis met Crown Prosecution Service stalking lead Olivia Rose at the Reading Office of CPS Thames and Chiltern on Thursday April 18 to learn more about work to tackle and effectively prosecute stalking offences.

Attorney General Victoria Prentis KC MP said:

Stalking can devastate lives - what might appear as innocent acts of kindness or affection can hide more sinister patterns of behaviour. If these aren’t called out early or reported to police, they can escalate to stalking.

That is why during National Stalking Awareness Week, I am urging anyone who has experienced this unacceptable behaviour - either online or in-person - to come forward and report it.

Stalking doesn’t have to be acts of violence - anything that causes distress, serious alarm or significantly impacts the ability to carry out normal day-to-day tasks can be considered.

Stalking is defined as a pattern of unwanted, fixated, obsessive, and repeated behaviour, which is persistent, intrusive and causes fear of violence or engenders alarm and distress in the victim.

Since the Pandemic, there has also been an increase in cyberstalking, this involves unwanted, harassing / threatening electronic or online communication.

The Attorney General learned about how CPS guidance was revised in April 2023 to help prosecutors better identify stalking behaviours and to select the most appropriate charge. It also drew the public’s attention to so-called “love-bombing” as an example of potentially problematic behaviour.

She also heard how CPS is collaborating with the police, courts, and victims’ groups to work with victims to reduce the impact of stalking on both them and their families.

Chief Crown Prosecutor for CPS Thames and Chiltern Rose-Marie Franton, said:

We recognise the impact that stalking can have on victims, forcing them to change their daily routines, and often leaving them in fear of their lives.

These controlling offences can quickly escalate, and we are determined to prosecute these crimes and provide victims and their families with the greatest protection from repeat offending.

Our prosecutors consider all the evidence, including how a suspect’s actions have affected the victim, to build a picture of their manipulative behaviour and present a strong case in court to maximise the potential for comprehensive protective orders.