Stalking and harassment has been prevalent in the news in recent times. These days there is much greater awareness of these issues and yet, here at Emery Johnson Astills, sadly we often receive calls from people informing us that their ex-partners are continuously subjecting them to stalking and harassment.
In the first instance, if you are being stalked and/or harassed by your ex-partner, you should report the matter to your local Police if you are not in immediate danger. Obviously, if you are at risk of imminent harm, you should call “999” to report the matter back to the Police.
Stalking is illegal. It can include being followed or constantly harassed by another person. This can also include online stalking if you are being sent constant unwanted emails, messages via social media, text messages, etc.
It was reported in The Guardian in April 2017 that stalking behaviour had been identified in 94% of murders. Within the Guardian report the Suzy Lamplugh Trust, which run the National Stalking Helpline, warned that failure to take action in relation to stalking could lead to increased violence and potentially death. The Trust has called on Courts to recognise that stalking is a broader problem and pattern of behaviour.
Training has been undertaken with the Police over the last few years regarding their treatment of reports in respect of stalking and harassment. However, in Leicestershire, there are still extremely few, if any, prosecutions brought purely for stalking. Stalking is often dealt with as a secondary offence or charge, which the Police investigate, following a report of an incident of physical domestic violence, for example an assault.
Examples of stalking behaviour:
Some examples of stalking behaviour are rearranging a victim’s garden furniture, sending unwanted gifts, loitering on the pavement outside their house or even contacting various agencies, for example the Police or Social Services, to maliciously report “poor” parenting.
Cases of stalking usually feature obsessive fixated behaviour and often occur following the breakdown of a relationship. There have been numerous high profile murders, including the case of Alice Ruggles, a couple of years ago, where the victim was initially suffering stalking and harassment from the perpetrator, which then escalated beyond belief.
If you make a report to the Police that you are being stalked or harassed by an ex-partner and there is no indication they are going to take any action, please do not hesitate to contact the Domestic Violence and Abuse Department (DVAD) at Emery Johnson Astills, either by phoning 0116 255 4855, or by emailing DVAD@johnsonastills.com for advice as to what action it may be possible to take in the Family Courts to secure Orders to protect yourself.
A specially trained member of staff in the DVAD of Emery Johnson Astills will be able to provide advice as to what measures you can take to protect yourself and also whether you may be eligible for Legal Aid.