Laura Richards, Founder of Paladin, the National Stalking Advocacy Service, Zoe Dronfield and John Clough will deliver a petition with over 130, 000 signatures to the Number 10 Downing Street calling on the Prime Minister, Theresa May, to act now to save lives by protecting women from serial stalkers and domestic violence perpetrators by including them on the sex offenders register.
Zoe Donfield survived a near lethal attack by serial abuser Jason Smith in 2014. He had abused 13 women before her.
John Clough’s daughter, Jane, was stalked and murdered in Blackpool in 2010 by an abusive Jonathan Vass who was on bail after Jane had separated from him and accused him of rape. He stalked her using Facebook when she escaped to her parents’ house with their baby. Although Vass’s bail conditions ordered him to keep away from Jane, he was freed on bail and stabbed her 71 times, killing her. He had a history of abusing other women.
On the one year anniversary of Alice Ruggles’ murder her parents, Clive and Sue Ruggles, are calling for the register. Alice was stalked and murdered by a serial abuser.
Too many have paid with their lives and it must stop. Currently there is no existing framework which can track or monitor serial stalkers and domestic violence perpetrators. Instead police rely on a series of victims to report multiple crimes and oftentimes it is the victims who are forced to modify and change their behaviour, flee their homes and disappear themselves in order to stay safe.
Laura Richards, CEO and Founder of Paladin, said: “This is about homicide prevention. Stalking is about fixation and obsession and it is a gateway offences to rape and murder. Many stalkers stalk multiple victims and escalate their behaviour. As a group they are more akin to sex offenders. They should be included on ViSOR – the Violent and Sexual Offenders register and managed under MAPPA – the Multi-agency Public Protection Arrangements – just as sex offenders are. It is vital the onus is placed in the perpetrators to change their behaviour and that their offending history follows them to ensure protection to victims”.
Laura continued: “The inclusion of serial stalkers and domestic violence perpetrators on ViSOR is long overdue. These are some of the most dangerous of cases and yet no priority is afforded to them. Notification requirements and prohibitions placed would be akin to that of a Registered Sex Offender. This would allow for a proactive policing approach which is necessary to keep future potential victims protected”.
Zoe said “ The stalker was known to police over many years. However, his behaviour went unnoticed and he was allowed to escalate and this was in one police force area. Many offenders go on to re-offend with other victims and they should be tracked and monitored. It is their space that should be closed down. It’s vital they are included on the register as a matter of urgency. It will save lives. There should be no excuses”.
John Clough said “I truly believe the register will put the focus on the offender to change their behaviour. Unless they are identified as stalkers and managed robustly, future victims will remain in great danger with life changing consequences. We don’t want any other family to go through what we have”.
Paladin is calling for:
– the introduction of a register for serial stalkers and domestic violence perpetrators which would allow police to track offenders, using a system VISOR and MAPPA