The government has announced that it is going to change the law to make stalking a specific criminal offence.
There it currently no legal definition of stalking. It has been argued that the Protection of Harassment Act 1997 does not go far enough to protect against stalking or punish offenders. The proposed changes are intended to provide more clarity and protection to victims and in turn help tackle the growing problem caused by ‘cyberstalking’ (also known as cyberbullying) through social networking and dating sites. The new proposal allows for offenders to receive up to 5 years in gaol and an unlimited fine.
What should you do if you are being stalked?
The Metropolitan Police website provides the following guidance:
- Report the matter to the police.
- Note the date and time of the incident and who was present – the more detail the better.
- Keep copies of any emails, letters, documents etc.
You can also consider applying for an immediate injunction to restrain the perpetrator from continued activity. A breach of undertaking is normally a criminal offence which can result in up to 5 years imprisonment. Also, if the incident has taken place at your workplace or educational establishments talk to your HR department or tutor as the establishment may be vicariously liable if they fail to take action.