Stalking is an insidious crime that has a deep and significant impact on victims’ wellbeing. Both online and offline, perpetrators leave victims feeling constantly at risk and looking over their shoulder. This Government is committed to ensuring that victims are supported.
Our National Statement of Expectations for Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG), published in December 2016, sets out the standards which local commissioners should meet when putting in place services to respond to VAWG, including stalking. This includes the need to put the victim at the centre of service delivery.
The Government part-funds the National Stalking Helpline, operated by the Suzy Lamplugh Trust, which has helped over 30,000 people since its inception. We made three grants under the Tampon Tax Fund of 2017 for projects to support victims of stalking – for example, we provided £240,000 to Black Country Women’s Aid to run a pilot project to develop the first specialist support service for victims of stalking in the West Midlands.
Through a grant of £4.1m under the Police Transformation Fund, the Government is also funding the Multi-Agency Stalking Intervention Programme. This aims, across three sites, to test and compare strategies to reduce recidivism on the part of stalking perpetrators and to develop best practice. This should improve the response to victims of stalking, ensuring that they receive consistently high-quality service and improving their satisfaction with police and across the criminal justice system.
The Stalking Protection Act 2019, which received Royal Assent on 15th March, will introduce civil Stalking Protection Orders. These will provide protection to victims at an early stage. Restraining orders can also be issued to those who have been prosecuted for stalking offences, to prevent continued stalking behaviour.