Paladin welcomes the announcement of Stalking Protection Orders from the Home Office today. We are pleased they recognised the need for new tools to better protect victims and launched the consultation following our campaign for new orders and a register for serial stalkers. We know through our advocacy casework that stalking is insidious and has a devastating impact on the millions of victims it affects.
Many victims live in fear and given stalking is about fixation and obsession, the terrifying online and offline stalking campaigns last many years. Often victims are told to change their behaviour. However, it is the perpetratorâ€™s behaviour thatÂ isÂ the problem and it is their behaviour that needs to change.
These orders are a step in the right direction to ensure a positive obligation is placed on the stalker to change their behaviour, as they may be asked to attend treatment programs for mental health issues. They are the ones whose behaviour needs to be closed down, supervised and managed andÂ notÂ the victim. This is part of much needed cultural change that places the focus firmly back on the stalker. However, it is vital that breaches of these orders are taken seriously, followed up and enforced.
Dr Eleanor Aston â€œI have been stalked for eight years. My stalker attended my surgery over 100 times, vandalizing it, repeatedly attended my home, hacked into a water pipe and interfered with our gas supply. He slashed our car tyres and appeared unannounced at my childrenâ€™s birthday party. Orders must be enforced when they are breached and much more needs to be done at an earlier stage to intervene and prevent cases from escalating as well as longer sentences needed for the most serious casesâ€
Laura Richards, Founder and Director of Paladin: â€œMany cases I have reviewed are what I call â€˜murders in slow motionsâ€™. Early identification, intervention and prevention is needed. Many stalkers are serial perpetrators, which is why we believe that the register and new orders are absolutely the necessary proactive intervention tools required to keep victims safe. We welcome the Home Officeâ€™s decision to bring a Stalking Protection Order that may help to save lives. However, much more needs to be done to protect victims and manage perpetrators including serial stalkers managed by the Multi-Agency Public Protection Arrangements, one-on-one perpetrator programs and longer sentences.â€