Monday 08 February 2021
Rachel Woods MLA has welcomed the first opportunity for MLAs to debate the Protection from Stalking Bill in the Assembly today, almost a decade after stalking was made a criminal offence in England and Wales.
Rachel Woods MLA said: "This is a really important piece of legislation containing measures that victims of stalking have been denied for many years. However, it's difficult to spin the Stalking Bill in a positive way when we know it should have been in place years ago.
"Victims of stalking have been let down across many years in the same way that victims of domestic abuse have suffered due to a long-standing lack of specific legislation. Current harassment laws are not appropriate to deal with stalking as a specific crime with genuinely terrifying impact on victims.
"Stalking is a crime of fear. Fear of being followed, fear of contact, fear of intimidation, fear of physical harm. Stalking ruins lives. There is also much misinformation and disinformation about stalking and a casual use of the term that undermines the impact it has on victims.
"I look forward to getting into the detail of the Stalking Bill through the Justice Committee. I will have victims of stalking at the forefront of my mind during that process."
Sinead McIvor - 07701 302 498