20 January 2020
The Stalking Protection Act 2019 came into force on Monday 20 January 2020 and permits stalking protection orders to be made on both adults and juveniles.
Whilst the Act aims to deal with cases of stalking that have occurred outside of a domestic abuse context such as stranger stalking, the orders can actually be applied to any case of stalking.
The orders not only prohibit particular behaviours but can also dictate that an individual has to undertake particular rehabilitative actions. For example, defendants can be ordered to attend mental health assessments or counselling where appropriate.
During any period that a court is determining the appropriateness of a stalking protection order being imposed, interim orders may be temporarily executed under the legislation.
Although stalking protection orders are civil, breach of an order or the notifications are criminal offences:
Sections 9(3), 11(1)(a) and (2) – Failure to notify the police of a name not already notified, within 3 days – H20166
Sections 9(4), 11(1)(a) and (2) – Failure to notify police of new home address within 3 days – H20167
Sections 9, 11(1)(b) and (2) – Provide information relating to notification requirement known to be false - H20169
The offences are all either way. If a matter is tried as a summary offence, the maximum sentence is one of 6 months imprisonment and / or a fine. If tried on indictment, the maximum sentence is one of 5 years imprisonment and/ or a fine.
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