New powers come into force tomorrow giving police more powers to deal with stalkers
New Stalking Protection Orders (SPOs) will allow courts in England and Wales to move quicker to ban stalkers from contacting victims or visiting their home, place of work or study. This will grant victims more time to recover from their ordeal.
In addition to banning perpetrators from approaching or contacting their victims, SPOs can also force stalkers to seek professional help.
According to the Crime Survey for England and Wales, almost one in five women over the age of 16 have experienced stalking, as well as almost one in ten men.
The Orders will usually last for a minimum of 2 years, with a breach counting as a criminal offence that can result in up to 5 years in prison.
Minister for Safeguarding and Vulnerability, Victoria Atkins said:
Every year, thousands of people live with the terrifying experience of being stalked, which can lead to victims feeling isolated, abused or even losing their lives.
“I am determined that we do everything we can to better protect victims and new Stalking Protection Orders will help the police to intervene and take action against perpetrators at the earliest opportunity.”
In addition to the SPOs, courts will also be able to impose an interim SPO to provide immediate protection for victims while a decision is being made.