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Stalking to become a crime for the first time

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Welcome news in the protection of victims of harassment and intimidation is David Cameron’s announcement that stalking will become a criminal offence for the first time with offenders potentially facing unlimited fines and up to five years in prison. He described stalking as an “abhorrent crime” which “makes life a living hell for victims” and he is reported to be meeting stalking victims later at Downing Street in a reception to mark International Women’s Day.

David Cameron and Nick Clegg have also stated their intention to sign up to the Council of Europe's Convention on Violence Against Women and Domestic Violence whereby a Briton accused of raping or assaulting women abroad could be put on trial in the UK courts.

We are committed to providing emergency assistance for victims of all forms of domestic violence. In appropriate circumstances our specialist solicitors can arrange emergency protection, by means of a non-molestation order which provides protection or an occupation order, banning a former partner from the former family home. Breach of a non-molestation order is a criminal offence or alternatively a contempt of court both of which may be punished by way of imprisonment. A power of arrest can be attached to an occupation order and the breach can be punished by the civil court that made the order.

Our family department provides free initial guidance and we can assess eligibility for legal aid. Where legal aid is not available fixed fee arrangements are on offer. For confidential advice ring us on 01616 966 229.

By family law solicitor and Stephensons’ Partner, Victoria Gethin