New stalking laws 'underutilised' by prosecutors

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has been accused of letting down stalking victims after official figures showed 743 such cases were brought before the courts last year.

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Underuse of stalking laws put women 'at risk'

The underuse of the new stalking laws are leaving women at risk of violence, campaigners warn. Credit: PA

The underuse of the new stalking laws are leaving women at risk of violence, a leading campaigner has warned.

Laura Richards, chief executive of the Paladin National Stalking Advocacy Service, warned that victims are being left at risk of violence as the new laws are being underused by CPS lawyers who have not had sufficient training.

Ms Richards also warned that "light-touch sentences" and a "revolving-door approach" means victims are more at risk of being killed by their stalkers and that charging "cheaper and easier-to-prove" offences such as harassment means the offender's fixation goes untreated.

Prosecutors accused of 'undercharging' in stalking cases

Elfyn Llwyd MP, who led a parliamentary inquiry on stalking, accused prosecutors of "undercharging" and called for a change in culture in the CPS and police, claiming stalking is too often treated as a domestic issue.

The Plaid Cymru Westminster leader said charging lesser offences often ends with a "slap on the wrist" and do provide justice for victims.

"We need to so make sure prosecutors take this very serious offence as they should because it is a considerable area of concern." Llywd said.

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CPS accused of 'letting down' stalking victims

The statue of "Lady Justice" by the British sculptor, Frederick William Pomeroy. Credit: PA

The Crown Prosecution Service has been accused of letting down stalking victims after official figures showed 743 such cases were brought before the courts last year.

CPS figures showed more than a quarter of cases in 2013-14 involved the more serious offences of stalking involving fear of violence (65) and stalking involving serious alarm or distress (149), with 529 for the lesser offence of stalking.

But campaigners, whose calls for the new stalking offences were realised in the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012, described the figures as disappointing.

They warned that victims are being left at risk of violence as the CPS charges offenders with lesser offences that are easier to prosecute but mean the stalker's fixation continues.

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