Law

Current NI Laws

Link 1

Link 2

Court Evidence

“Insufficient evidence” is likely to be the reason the majority of criminal harassment cases fail, as evidence is not easy to obtain. When the threats are at their highest and most sinister, they are normally done in a way that is undetected to witnesses, and anonymously. And when witnesses see what is happening they are likely to shy away as they do not want this attention to divert to themselves. Although the police may believe you, and recognise what is happening, it is the Justice system that look for a level of evidence that will stand up in court, and can only be gathered if the victim knows what to look for and how to capture it. Again this is very difficult when the victim is living in fear and day to day survival is all they can manage.  See Reporting page on this site.

Life Changes & Costs

A victim may also feel resentful at the lack of help available to stop it, often resulting in having to pay for their own legal intervention (costing two thousand pounds and upwards), installing expensive security systems, having to move home/location, change cars,  and /or leave/change jobs. The Crown Prosecution website has listed the changes a person may need to make to their daily life as a result of enduring this. Also be aware that if you don’t take action and start some form of legal proceedings, or police reporting, that the person stalking you, could reverse the victimhood and start their own proceedings. Documented and known to PSNI as counter allegation. It is useful to keep in mind some solicitors will act on their client’s instruction, if their fees are being met,  regardless of evidence or credibility of  the allegations presented.

Criminal Behaviour

It is unfortunate that valuable resources are used  to  “police”  socially unacceptable behaviour of  mature  adults,  whom are capable of knowing what is right from wrong but will not relent. This is a mental health issue with criminal behaviour and is not always understood by those that deal with it. The justice system however does quote that mental illness is not a defence,  and PSNI quotes that although their behaviour is detrimental, costly and dangerous to those that they stalk, a significant minority of stalkers have a serious mental illness underlying their behaviour.

It cannot be stopped, unless the stalking behaviour escalates and can be evidenced, ideally by a third party.  Gathering effective evidence is vital to conviction, and your smart phone is a valuable tool for keeping with you at all times.

See the Reporting page on this site to get advice for this.

Research

If you have been affected by stalking please help create much needed  statistical understanding and evidence, to evidence the need for early police intervention. Please complete the anonymous survey attached to this site.