It is sometimes difficult to link the stalking behaviour of the offender to the victim without seizing the equipment used to stalk the victims. The provision of accurate and up-to-date information to the victim throughout the life of the case, together with quality support and careful consideration of any special measures requirements are essential factors for the CPS to consider. physical evidence such as documents, handwriting, fingerprints and sources of DNA. All rights reserved. When considering such cases, it is important to balance the right to legitimate protest, with the rights of any individual to be free from harassment. GOV.UK is the place to find The effect of such behaviour is to curtail a victim's freedom, leaving them feeling that they constantly have to be careful. The PHA was brought into force on 16 June 1997 and was amended by the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012 to include two new specific offences of stalking, through the insertion of sections 2A and 4A. It is necessary to prove that the conduct is unacceptable to a degree which would sustain criminal liability, and also must be oppressive (R v Curtis [2010] EWCA 123). When she terminated the liaison by text message, he refused to accept her decision. provide criminal justice agencies with a ready source of information on how a particular crime has affected the victim involved. For example, following a person, watching or spying on them or forcing contact with the victim through any means, including social media. This is also a disability crime as there is hostility based on the victim's disability. The sole defence to a breach of a criminal or a civil order is that the defendant had a reasonable excuse. This means that the police can deal with protestors after the event. This law was designed to protect victims of stalking generally but is also used in connection with cyberstalking. Also prosecutors should be aware that restricting the suspect's ability to stalk or harass a particular victim may have unintended consequences. Better state and federal laws will give the authorities the necessary tools to control and combat cyberstalking [12]. This guidance provides a summary of the main types of cybercrime offending and highlights where further guidance is available. Section 7 defines a course of conduct as being on at least two occasions. Stress can affect the quantity and quality of communication with witnesses of all ages. Victims should be advised not to dispose of any personal information or correspondence via a dustbin. Upon receipt of an expedited report or evidential file, a prosecutor should: It is important to note that matters said to constitute the course of conduct amounting to harassment must be properly particularised in the information laid or in the indictment (C v CPS 2008 EWHC 148). that the course of conduct was pursued for the purpose of preventing or detecting crime; that it was pursued under any enactment or rule of law or to comply with any condition or requirement imposed by any person under any enactment; or. The crucial difference between the current offence under section 4 and the new offence under section 4A is that the latter introduces an additional element, namely that the defendant's offending behaviour causes a victim "serious alarm or distress that has a substantial adverse effect on their usual day-to-day activities". Section 12 of the Domestic Violence, Crime and Victims Act 2004, as well extending the availability of restraining orders to all offences, provides the court with the power to make a restraining order even when a person has been acquitted, where the court considers it necessary to do so to protect a person from ongoing stalking or harassment from the defendant. Given the often complex nature of cases involving stalking and harassment it is likely that many stalking cases will be referred through to the CPS for pre-charge advice. How strong is the evidence to demonstrate behaviours associated with stalking? The offence now may be punished either as a criminal offence with a maximum penalty of five years' imprisonment, or as a civil contempt of court as before. introduced in the United Kingdom to address stalking and harassment, with the introduction of the Protection from Harassment Act 1997. A power to search for and seize computers or other electronic equipment that may have been used to commit the offence would potentially strengthen the prosecution case. A Cocoon Watch is only implemented with the informed consent of the victim. Slander, harassment, and anti-stalking legislation laws govern cyberstalking to some degree. Similarly, bail may be granted by the criminal courts in a way that fails to take account of any existing civil orders. Cyberstalking is punishable by up to five years in prison and a fine of $250,000. This means that companies now have the option to take out injunctions against people harassing their employees in the name of the company and will not have to take action in the name of a particular employee. 27). Some more complex and difficult cases may require the personal allocation of the file to a senior prosecutor who is aware of the problems that may be encountered when dealing with cases of stalking and harassment. Applications under the Act can be made without notice. Conflicting orders may also be confusing for the victim, the police and the defendant and make it difficult to prosecute any subsequent breaches of bail. For example, a young woman subjected to stalking may find it difficult to report it because she fears she will not be taken seriously because of her age. give victims an opportunity to state how the crime has affected them physically, emotionally, psychologically, financially or in any other way. It is clearly a matter for the courts, on a case by case basis to determine whether two or more incidents amount to a course of conduct which consequently leads to persons being alarmed or distressed. The original impetus to introduce the Protection from Harassment Act 1997 was to deal with the problem of stalking. 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