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In 'Study of Stalkers' (1999) Mullen, Pathe, Purcell and Stuart provided a useful classification for stalking which is now generally accepted. Updates in cyberstalking laws and investigation techniques have resolved many of these problems, but despite these changes, anyone grappling with a cyberstalking charge, as either a defendant or a victim, should be familiar with the most recent laws and … Primary consideration should be given, when drafting charges or accepting pleas, to ensuring that the court has adequate sentencing powers to deal with a defendant in light of the offending behaviour. What reasons are the defence giving for suggesting that a plea to harassment should be accepted? More information is available in the Legal Guidance on Racist and Religious Crime. A power of arrest cannot be attached to an undertaking and the court must not accept an undertaking where otherwise it would be appropriate to attach a power of arrest. The needs of individual victims vary and to ensure their safety, the criminal and civil law may need to be used in conjunction. The DVCVA aims to place complainants at the heart of the criminal justice system. The prison can be informed of the existence of an order by the police. There is a defence to stalking involving fear of violence or serious alarm or distress, as set out in section 4 A (3), where it can be shown that the course of conduct was: (a) pursued for the purpose of preventing or detecting crime; If you've been affected by cyber-stalking, you can … Primary consideration should be given, when drafting charges, to ensuring that the court has adequate sentencing powers to deal with a defendant in light of the offending behaviour. The effect of such behaviour is to curtail a victim's freedom, leaving them feeling that they constantly have to be careful. Harassment is not defined but includes conduct causing alarm or distress. This may be because actions complained of are reasonable and lawful and were adequately explained by the suspect. Section 3A of the PHA permits a person who is, or may be, a victim of conduct within section 1(1A) of the Act to apply to the high court or the county court for an injunction. In the majority of cases, we in the CPS will not have information independent of the police that can inform the process. Fixated Threat Assessment Centre Every effort should be made to ensure that victims in cases of stalking and harassment are consulted prior to making bail decisions. She started sending e-mails to his seniors and to clients of the bank, claiming negligence, then persecution and conspiracy. Acts might be some distance apart, and yet still constitute a course of conduct. In order to protect the activities of the security forces, and those investigating serious crime, under section 12, the Secretary of State may issue a certificate to the effect that the behaviour complained of was done in relation to: Such a certificate is conclusive evidence that the PHA does not apply to the conduct of a person on a specified occasion. which is in breach of section 1(1) of the Protection from Harassment Act 1997 (i.e. Links to other relevant policies and legal guidance: Cases of stalking and harassment that fall within the Government definition of domestic violence should be identified both on the file jacket (for example, through a readily identifiable sticker, marking it with the letters 'DV' or using a different colour file jacket) and flagged on CMS as domestic violence. Identifying quickly and accurately the risks posed by a defendant toward a victim, group of victims or indeed a victim's family is a crucial step in increasing the safety of a victim. Harassment can take place on the internet and through the misuse of email. But since these laws weren’t written with cyberstalking in mind , they don’t provide the scope that is necessary for some cases. However, the courts have ruled that it is not just the number of incidents which make up a course of conduct, but whether those incidents could be said to be so connected in type and context as to justify the conclusion that they could amount to a course of conduct (see Lau v DPP [2000] Crim. previous convictions (or alternatively there may be relevant police intelligence) for violence or other offending (for example, domestic abuse, sexual violence, other violence, theft, and criminal damage); engaged in harassment on previous occasions against the victim or someone else; harmed the victim or anyone else (including family, or anyone else the victim may have had a relationship with, or stranger), physically or sexually; harmed animals - in particular harmed pets belonging to the victim or those close to the victim; breached an injunction, non-molestation order, other court order or bail conditions; encouraged other people to assist in the stalking or harassment (whether they are conscious of their involvement or not); considerable knowledge about the victim. It is unlikely that the courts will allow incidents that have already been dealt with to form part of a subsequent offence, given the doctrines of autrefois acquit and convict. Second, a course of conduct which causes "serious alarm or distress" which has a substantial adverse effect on the day-to-day activities of the victim. (d) monitoring the use by a person of the internet, email or any other form of electronic communication, provide criminal justice agencies with a ready source of information on how a particular crime has affected the victim involved. which involves harassment of two or more persons; and. This most obviously applies to the police and any other investigative agencies such as the Post Office or HMRC. Three defences are available to the section 2 offence: The Protection from Harassment Act 1997 was intially introduced as a Stalking Bill and was always intended to tackle all forms of harassment including stalking. (e) physical or mental ill-health; The nature of stalking and harassment, particularly where the victim has been followed or subjected to periods of observation, will usually mean that the defendant has spent significant periods of time in the vicinity of the victim's home, place of work or other places that the victim habitually visits. This may constitute an abuse of process. A senior police officer is calling on the government to review whether laws governing cyber-stalking in the UK are fit for purpose. Prosecutors should note that any incidents which form part of a course of conduct that took place prior to this date can not be included in a stalking charge. Cyberstalking is a growing problem, but until now has not been recognised as a serious crime. (g) the victim stopping /or changing the way they socialise. Victims who experience harassment can seek a restraining order, the breach of which maybe a criminal offence. It is confirmed as including speech. Stalking - harassment which involves a course of conduct that amounts to, Stalking - s.4A (1) PHA 1997 which can be. It assesses and manages the risk posed by people who engage in bizarre communications or contact prominent people in public life and who additionally pose a risk to the public, the prominent person and themselves. An offence will only be committed where a person returns within that specified period for the purpose of representing to, or persuading the resident not to do something he is entitled to do or to do something he is not obliged to do. Where there is a course of conduct commencing before 25 November 2012 and continuing after that date, it may be appropriate for prosecutors to consider section 2 and section 4 offences. The court  held that in order to rely on the defence under section 1 (3)(a) of the Protection from Harassment Act 1997, which exempts liability for a course of conduct "pursued for the purpose of preventing or detecting crime", the alleged harasser would have to show that he had acted rationally. This guidance assists our prosecutors when they are making decisions about cases. The safety and needs of each victim should be assessed on an individual basis. note details of witnesses who may have observed or heard these events; keep a record of how the defendant looked, details of their clothing or vehicle; stored messages or tape any calls made by the defendant; to use 1471 on the phone and write down details of calls received including the time received and the telephone numbers, this includes unanswered calls; and. (f) interfering with any property in the possession of a person, The PHA was brought into force on 16 June 1997 and was amended by the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012 to include two new specific offences of stalking, through the insertion of sections 2A and 4A. A key product from the MARAC process is the production and implementation of a multi-agency risk management plan. Prosecutors should note that the above list is not exhaustive and that there may be some victims who will try to continue their lives as usual in defiance of a stalker. Stalking is a form of emotional assault, and cyberstalking, also referred to as “cyberbullying,” is a high-tech method of inflicting more pain.The Violence Against Women Act of 2000 placed cyberstalking under the prevue of federal law in the U.S. She feels very intimidated by Rex's behaviour and is starting to feel trapped in her home. If a plea to harassment is offered when the defendant has been charged with stalking, as a starting point, the victim's view must be considered. (d) the victim moving home; Section 3 of PHA makes harassment as defined in section 1 of the Act a tort for which a victim can bring legal proceedings. The Cocoon Watch scheme requires the help and support of neighbours, family and relevant agencies in further protecting the victim by ensuring contact is made with the police immediately if further incidents occur. Practical and operational points to consider when prosecuting a c… There is no legal definition of "vicinity" and ultimately it is for the courts to determine what is meant by it as a matter of fact. the suspect (for example, previous history of behaviour and their circumstances); and. A court dealing with a person convicted of any offence, including those under sections 2, 2A, 4 or 4A of the PHA, may make a restraining order prohibiting the defendant from doing anything described in the order. It is essential that the victim is fully aware of the decisions being made as they may directly impact on the victim's safety. In such cases, we should remind the court of its powers to control abuse of its process. Cyberstalking Legislation. There is no specific requirement that the activity making up a course of conduct should be of the same nature. Behaviour by a suspect as part of a campaign of stalking and harassment could include: Prosecutors should consider the full ambit of criminal offending when drafting charges. Section 125(5) of the SOCPA inserted section 3A into the PHA, which permits a person who is, or may be, a victim of conduct within section 1(1A) of the PHA to apply to the High Court or County Court for an injunction. In some situations, police officers might visit to check on the safety of the victim. Prosecutors may need to obtain information or documents that pertain to family proceedings. It is therefore important that police officers should consider enquiries with neighbours and other potential witnesses such as routine visitors to the area. This guidance provides a summary of the main types of cybercrime offending and highlights where further guidance is available. 580 and R v Patel [2005] 1 Cr. For example, the recognition of an individual's delusional fixation on another person can enable them to access mental health services which could assist. (b) the conduct was pursued under any enactment or rule of law; or Affords more protection to victims of stalking. Section 125(7) of the SOCPA amended the definition of course of conduct in section 7(3) of the PHA so that in relation to two or more persons a course of conduct means conduct on at least one occasion in relation to each person. If, for example, the act of cyberstalking also involves making threats, the cyberstalker may end up receiving a prison sentence of up to 5 years. a neighbour. More information about this can be found below in the section Civil Proceedings and Legislation. When a police notice has been issued, the officer should record that fact and the nature of the notice (for example, allegations made), and offer it to the recipient to sign, indicating receipt and understanding. This could include: members of the same family; residents of a particular neighbourhood; groups of a specific identity including ethnicity or sexuality, for example, the racial harassment of the users of a specific ethnic community centre; harassment of a group of disabled people; harassment of gay clubs; or of those engaged in a specific trade or profession. - The charity Network for Surviving Stalking represents UK stalking victims and their families. The availability of civil proceedings does not diminish a defendant's criminal behaviour and is not therefore a reason, in itself, to discontinue. (e) loitering in any place (whether public or private), Where possible other agencies should be involved to ensure effective management of risk and generic risk assessment tools which are capable of being used by a multitude of agencies that maybe involved with a victim should be employed. Cyber-enabled crimes and the legislation which should be considered when reviewing and charging a cyber-enabled case, and 4. Whilst there is no strict legal definition of 'stalking', section 2A (3) of the PHA 1997 sets out examples of acts or omissions which, in particular circumstances, are ones associated with stalking. statements made by the parties or witnesses; expert reports including reports compiled by CAFCASS about any children in the family; transcripts of evidence (especially if any admissions have been made); and. These cases, together with cases of honour based violence, forced marriage and child abuse should be identified and cross-flagged to reflect this. Although cyberstalking often takes place via online channels, such as social media, search engines, blogs and other online publications, cyberstalking often also involves the use the phone, letters and other traditional harassing means. These were interspersed with considerable periods of affectionate life. Alternatively, in less serious cases, advice from such a prosecutor may suffice. Proceedings under section 3 may be founded on the basis of one act and anticipated further breaches of section 1 (in contrast to criminal proceedings under sections 2 or 4 that require at least two actual incidents in order to constitute a course of conduct). (g) watching or spying on a person. Cyberstalking is punishable by up to five years in prison and a fine of $250,000. The Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005 (SOCPA) made several amendments to the PHA to enable organisations and their employees to be better protected: Section 125(2) of the SOCPA added a new subsection 1(1A) to the PHA making it an offence for a person (or persons) to pursue a course of conduct involving the harassment of two or more persons on separate occasions which the defendant knows or ought to know involves harassment, the purpose of which is to persuade any person (not necessarily one of the persons being harassed) not to do something that he is entitled to do or to do something he is not under any obligation to do. The service aims to provide strategic advocacy to high risk victims of stalking and establish a network of victims who have endured stalking, providing mutual support and empowerment. information from family proceedings that may be shared with other relevant authorities such as the police. - Updated 23 May 2018 to include link to updated protocol on stalking and harassment, , Domestic abuse Prosecutors should routinely make enquiries to see if there are any concurrent civil proceedings. It provides a set of remedies available in all courts with a family jurisdiction (including magistrates' courts). The phrase "substantial adverse effect on ... usual day-to-day activities" is not defined in section 4A and thus its construction will be a matter for the courts. Further information about restraining orders and the prosecution of breach of the orders (as well as variation) can be found in Restraining Orders , elsewhere in the Legal Guidance. This is particularly relevant where historically it has been more difficult to achieve a successful outcome for victims. Each victim's individual experiences of harassment and stalking will be different, and some victims may encounter additional barriers to accessing justice. There is no law under which to prosecute cyberstalkers If people ignore stalkers, they will get bored and stop If you confront a stalker they will stop It amends the Family Law Act 1996 by inserting a new section 42A, which makes it a criminal offence to breach a non-molestation order. Victims' experiences of harassment and stalking may be affected by identities distinct from gender, like their ethnicity, age, sexuality, disability, immigration status, and religion or belief. United Kingdom – In the United Kingdom, the Protection from Harassment Act 1997 contains an offence of stalking covering cyber-stalking, which was introduced into the act through the Protection of … The prosecutor should consider the needs of the victim when advising on charge, including the need to apply for special measures; outline a timetable for the police to send the outstanding evidence when the Threshold Test is applied and ensure that any delay is reasonable in all the circumstances; ensure that for the Full Code Test to be satisfied at a later stage, all outstanding evidence , outlined in the initial advice is requested and checked; make proactive enquiries with the police and ensure all information in respect of the suspect's criminal behaviour or intelligence reports relating to domestic violence incidents are provided as often stalking and harassment cases are interlinked with domestic violence incidents; create a detailed review on CMS and refer to all relevant issues from the advice given. 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