Change the law to protect victims of stalking
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Suzy Lamplugh Trust is calling on the Government to end the misery of stalking victims being forced to face cross-examination by their stalker in the family courts.
We know from callers to our National Stalking Helpline that stalkers often drag their victims through the civil and family courts on totally spurious charges in order to intimidate them and keep up contact with them and, as legal aid has been cut, they can be forced to face their stalker in the docks.
We are calling on the Ministry of Justice to ensure that victims of stalkers are included on a list of people who cannot be cross-examined by their abusers. This is being discussed in current legislation before Parliament: Prisons and Courts Bill to be extended so the gravity of the crime of stalking is recognised along with other forms of abusive behaviour.
A right to legal aid is enshrined in the Bill for those victims of offences that are included on the list. We believe that stalkers should not be able to abuse the justice system by using the civil and family courts as an extension of their campaigns of intimidation.
Please sign our petition to show that you support a change in the law to end this abuse and vicious intimidation of vulnerable victims.
Suzy Lamplugh was a popular 25-year-old who vanished into thin air after heading out to meet a client in Fulham, south London, in 1986.
She has been declared legally dead - killed at the hands of a man who was stalking her in the months leading up to her murder. But her body has never been found and her family and loved-ones have been denied justice as no one has ever been prosecuted for her murder.
Sadly Suzy's mother is no longer with us. She went to her grave not knowing what happened to her daughter a quarter of a century earlier. But while discussing the case of a woman being stalked with two high-ranking Hampshire police officers, she suddenly realised that a man Suzy had mentioned had been lavishing unwanted attention on her was actually stalking her. From that epiphany came a new tac for the Trust – to raise the profile of stalking as a devastating crime.
In a forward written for Paul Infield and Graham Platford's The Law of Harassment and Stalking, she wrote: "I realised that she [Suzy] had become a victim and that this behaviour- this cold, obsessive form of torture – could become deadly. I knew that I might have been able to save my daughter had I been aware of this earlier."
We at the Suzy Lamplugh Trust have been campaigning for greater awareness of stalking, a crime that will affect one in five women and one in 10 men at some point in their lives.
Suzy’s case is extreme – but suffering at the hands of people who harass is a common experience. It is frightening as stalking can often escalate from harassment to threats of extreme violence and it can leave victims’ lives in tatters.
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