Women’s Aid responds to HMICFRS report on stalking and harassment

By agency reporter
April 11, 2019

Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services has published a report on the police response to stalking and harassment. It looks at how police forces have improved their response to stalking and harassment crimes since their 2017 report, Living in fear – the police and CPS response to harassment and stalking. 

Lucy Hadley, Campaigns and Public Affairs Manager at Women’s Aid, said: “Time and time again we hear from survivors of domestic abuse that the police have not taken their experiences of stalking at the hands of their abusive ex-partner seriously. From our work with the campaigner Karen Ingala Smith developing the Femicide Census, we know that controlling and possessive behaviour from an ex-partner is a red flag that she is at serious risk of fatal violence from her abusive former partner.

“It is encouraging to see that stalking and harassment crimes are being better recorded by police, with latest figures from HMICFRS showing an uplift in recording of 40 per cent year-on-year. However, it is possible that the 10 per cent reduction in the proportion of domestic abuse-flagged stalking and harassment crimes may reflect a decline in effective recording of stalking cases within the context of domestic abuse. In 2017/18, 40 per cent of women supported by domestic abuse services had experienced surveillance, harassment and stalking (Women’s Aid, Annual Audit 2019).

“Despite some progress being made by police forces, it is concerning that police forces are continuing to fall short when it comes to effectively handle stalking and harassment cases and give the appropriate level of support that survivors desperately need. It can be a matter of life or death that the police give the right response in stalking cases. That’s why we urge police leaders to invest in domestic abuse and stalking training, co-delivered by specialists like Women’s Aid, for all staff. Only by ensuring that all staff understand stalking within the context of domestic abuse can we ensure that these crimes are taken seriously from report to sentencing and that survivors get the support they need to live free from fear and abuse.”

* Read the full report here

* Women's Aid https://www.womensaid.org.uk/

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