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New law against stalking

National changes in legislation come into force today that will make stalking a specific offence for the first time. Until now the often terrifying ordeal has been dealt with under 'harrassment law'.

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Study finds women "reluctant" to report stalking

According to new research from a study by Durham University, women in the region do not think that police take rape, domestic violence and stalking as seriously as they should do.

The study found that only half the women would definitely report domestic violence if it happened to them.

"We know that the police have put additional resources and effort into improving both victim care and investigations.

However, this research shows women are still reluctant to make that first step and report these crimes to the police."

– Dr Nicole Westmarland, Senior Lecturer in Criminology at Durham University

Only 49 per cent said they would definitely report domestic violence if it happened to them and just over half of women in the study would definitely report stalking to the police.

The study, funded by the Northern Rock Foundation, comes at a time when new legislation is being enforced to criminalise stalking as an offence in its own right for the first time.

"The police are always looking to improve the service we provide to victims of sexual assault; we have improved our service significantly over recent years by listening to the views of victims and experts in this field and will always continue to put the victim at the heart of our response."

– Detective Superintendent Paul Goundry, Durham Constabulary

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