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Stalking, a criminal offence at last!

Posted: in by Michelle Barron.

The government has introduced two offences, stalking and stalking involving a fear of violence.In Scotland stalking was made an offence in 2010.

The new offences sit alongside ones of harassment in the Protection from Harassment Act 1997. They are designed to provide extra protection for victims, highlight the serious impact stalking can have on them and help bring more perpetrators to justice.

A charge of stalking will carry a maximum sentence of six months or a £5,000 fine. Where there is fear of violence, the jail term is up to five years or an unlimited fine.

A parliamentary inquiry earlier this year found that about 120,000 victims, mostly women, were stalked every year. However only 53,000 incidents are recorded as crimes by police - and only one in 50 of these reports leads to an offender being jailed.

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