National Stalking Awareness Week: What is stalking and how can it be prevented?

To raise awareness around the dangers of stalking and the current issues facing victims, National Stalking Awareness Week 2024 is running from the 22nd to 26th of April.

The harrowing impact that stalking has on victims has recently been spotlighted in the new Netflix drama ‘Baby Reindeer’. The series is centred around one person’s stalking ordeal, highlighting the behaviours that amount to stalking and the effect it has on its’ victims.

What is stalking?

Stalking is a pattern of persistent and unwanted intrusive behaviour which causes fear.

Under recently updated statutory guidance, police officers no longer need to meet the high criminal standard of proof threshold to apply for a stalking protection order.

Instead, a stalking protection order will likely be accepted by Courts when evidence meets the lower civil standard.

To help victims identify what amounts to stalking the police have set out four warning signs, namely:

  • Unwanted
  • Fixated
  • Obsessive
  • Repeated

How can I prevent a stalker from contacting me?

If the stalker is someone close to you, such as a family member or a former partner, an application for a Non-Molestation Order (often referred to as an injunction) can be made to Court.

An application can be made without the stalker seeing any paperwork or even knowing that the victim intends to take the matter to Court.

Non-Molestation Orders can prohibit the stalker from certain behaviours toward the victim – for instance coming within a certain distance or contact via text, phone, social media etc.

Such applications often require recent evidence of the stalker’s behaviour. The victim will provide a statement in support of their application, which summarises what the stalker has done and why they feel they need the protection of an Order.

Once made, a Non-Molestation Order usually lasts between 6 to 12 months. However, every case is different, and if the Court thinks it is appropriate it can be made for a longer period.

Breaching a Non-Molestation Order is a criminal offence and can result in five years’ imprisonment and a fine.

It should be noted that the stalker cannot be convicted if they were unaware of the existence of the Order – which why it is important to ensure any Order made is personally served upon them, as soon as possible.

For further information on this topic, please contact our team at MSB.

MSB Solicitors are a trusted and recommended law firm in Liverpool, Manchester and Cheshire, offering a full range of award-winning services for businesses and individuals across the North West region.

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