Stalking Guidelines for Prosecutors
Protection Against Stalking (PAS) fully welcomes and supports the launch and publication of the stalking guidelines for prosecutors. This is a huge step forward for the CPS and having supported many victims who have been stalked the evidence tells us that the guidelines are clearly needed. CPS prosecutors play such a vital role in protecting the victim and it can be the CPS's lack of understanding about stalking that leaves victims feeling even more isolated and vulnerable. The guidelines will go some way to help increase education and awareness about this important issue.
Stalkers steal lives and prosecutors will also need training on the impact of being victimised. Stalking is never a one off crime and it often continues for years until it is too late. By fully understanding this crime and through early intervention, CPS prosecutors could help put a stop to years of stalking and a victim’s life being completely destroyed. Too many times the pattern goes unrecognised. The stalking behaviour may seem normal until it is repeated and then it becomes more sinister. Much of the stalking behaviour will have a psychological impact which does not mean it is any less serious or dangerous.
The recent homicide of Chris Brown and attempted murder of Sam Stobbart in Northumbria by Raoul Moat unfortunately continues to remind us of the serious consequences that can result from cases involving stalking. Sadly, the findings from recent homicide reviews are all too familiar. Key areas highlighted are the lack of understanding regarding stalking and harassment, insufficient risk identification, assessment and management, poor communication and insufficient information sharing. This area of work needs to become a priority and adequately resourced.