Victims of stalking by strangers could get better protection under new legislation backed by Labour and Conservative politicians.
The Stalking Protection Bill is proposing stalking protection orders (SPOs) that would be applicable to all types of stalking and would solve a gap in the law surrounding offences involving strangers.
Batley and Spen Labour MP Tracy Brabin has backed the Bill which she said will give the police the resources they need to tackle a crime that blights lives across the UK.
It follows on from the disappointment of Batley man Michael Brown in the underuse of Clare’s Law after his daughter Clare was horrifically murdered by her former partner.
Her killing led to the introduction of Clare’s Law in 2014 which was due in large part to the tireless campaigning Mr Brown.
The law allows people in fear of domestic violence to request police information about someone’s history of violence.
But, disappointingly, only 43% of requests since its introduction have been accepted.
This postcode lottery is partly due to a lack of resources. And this is why Ms Brabin was reassured to hear that resources will be given to the police as part of the Stalking Protection Bill.
Speaking in Parliament, Ms Brabin said: “In my own constituency there was amazing work done by the family of Clare Wood for Clare’s Law which was about the obligation of police to disclose a past history of violent behaviour if you requested it.
Ms Brabin then went on to ask: “So would the honourable member agree with me that what’s really to be celebrated by this bill is that there are going to be resources given to the police so that they can respond swiftly and completely to requests?”
Ms Brabin voted to support the Stalking Protection Bill, allowing it to progress to its next stage in Parliament.
The bill will strengthen protection for victims of stalking and will fill a gap in the law to protect people who are being stalked by strangers.
It also includes the introduction of Stalking Protection Orders which the police can apply for on behalf of victims.
The new orders would enable the police to enforce restrictions such as banning strangers from contacting individuals or their families.
Currently if the offender is a victim’s partner, or former partner, police can use domestic violence protection orders to try to curb their behaviour.
Ms Brabin added: “I welcome the bill and it’s vital that victims feel they can come forward at an early stage an in the knowledge they will be taken seriously.
“And I will support Michael Brown and Clare’s family in their fight to make sure women get answers when they contact the police to check if their partner has a history of domestic violence. Two women a week are killed by their partners or an ex.
“No family should have to go through what they have been through.”
If anyone needs further information about domestic violence or stalking, please contact Women’s Aid on 0808 2000 247.