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Calls for a Stalker Register

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campaign calls for a stalker registerLily ‘reported every single incident, collected evidence – but the police failed to join up the dots’.

At the start of National Stalking Awareness Week a campaign has been launched calling for tougher measures to be taken against stalkers.

Stalking is a pattern of repeated and persistent unwanted behaviour that is intrusive and engenders fear.

It is when one person becomes fixated or obsessed with another and the attention is unwanted.

Threats may not be made, but victims may still feel scared.

Importantly, threats are not required for the criminal offence of stalking to be prosecuted.

On 5 December 2015 the Home Office announced an 8-week consultation on the Stalking Protection Order which they are planning to introduce to tackle stalking in England and Wales.

But, campaigners say, what is important is that there is a register for serial perpetrators and that there are new orders that place a positive obligation on stalkers to change their behaviour, just like sex offenders.

But currently there is no existing framework to do this.

Police rely on victims to report multiple crimes and often it is the victim who is forced to modify and change their behaviour, flee their homes and disappear themselves to stay safer online and offline.

This needs to change and the focus must be on the perpetrator – the stalker.

This must be included if we are to better protect victims of stalking and shift the focus to the perpetrator.

The Women’s Equality Party (WE) and the national stalking advocacy service Paladin are calling for immediate action to reduce the risk to women, and are campaigning for ring-fenced funding for stalking support services, specialist-led training for criminal justice professionals, perpetrator treatment and a register for serial stalkers.

WE is now working with singer Lily Allen and Paladin to campaign for prevention, protection and justice for the thousands of women that are stalked every year.

One in five women will suffer stalking in their lifetime, which, WE’s party leader and London mayoral candidate Sophie Walker explained, is why WE is calling for a new, joined-up approach to stopping this crime.

“As Lily’s story illustrates,” Walker said, “the justice system still does not fully understand stalking behaviours and risks.

“Lily carefully reported every single incident and collected evidence, but the police failed to join up the dots.

The founder and director of Paladin, Laura Richards, said: “One of the key challenges with stalking is that, taken in isolation, behaviours might seem unremarkable.

“However, in particular circumstances and with repetition, they take on a more sinister meaning.

“This is why it is so important to understand the history and totality of what has been happening, rather than just the ‘incident’ reported.

“Stalkers steal lives and take lives – early identification, assessment and management is crucial in stalking cases.”

Lily Allen bravely told the Observer recently about her seven-year ordeal with a stranger-stalker and the insidious and terrifying nature of this crime, and how the police did not help.

The campaign is calling for people to share Lily’s story, and their own, on social media with the hashtags #jointhedots #joinWE to raise awareness of the problem.

As many as 700,000 women experience stalking every year.

Tackling stalking requires a joined-up approach and by joining the campaigners, you will help push the issue up the political agenda.

Paladin has set up an online petition calling for a Stalkers Register, similar to the sex offenders register.

To find out more about the campaign to end the crime of stalking, visit the Join the Dots page.

“As with many other forms of violence, these are not isolated incidents but a structural violence perpetrated against women” Walker said.

“As we have seen with Lily’s case, the police minimised her experience and denied Lily the support she deserved, failing to effectively manage the risk to her and her family, and ultimately weakening the case against the perpetrator.”

To find out more or seek support, visit the National Stalking Helpline.

To find out how else to support the campaign for a Serial Perpetrator Register and Order, click here.

Paladin also has a helpline: 0207 840 8960.

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