Living in fear - the police and CPS response to harassment and stalking
In 2016/17, HMIC and HM Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate (HMCPSI) carried out the first inspection into the police and the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS)’s response to harassment and stalking crimes.
Harassment and stalking are crimes of persistence. It is the unrelenting repeat behaviour by the perpetrator experienced in its totality, which seems inescapable and inevitable, that has such a detrimental effect on the victim.
The inspection findings are set out in the report below.
In order to gain a fuller picture of the impact of these crimes, HMIC commissioned the University of Worcester to carry out a qualitative study of the experiences and perceptions of victims. These experiences are published throughout the HMIC and HMCPSI report, and in the full research report, produced by the University of Worcester.
Two of the case studies are also included below.
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Elaine became aware of the stalking when seven websites were created about her. They contained malicious content about Elaine, including pictures of her, details of her personal life which were then shared with her children and her previous employers.
Sally was in an abusive relationship for 13 years. When she left her partner, he continued to control her through access to their child. Sally decided to cut all contact with her ex-partner when she was diagnosed with a stress-related health condition. The decision to cut all contact triggered an escalation in her ex-partner’s harassment, with around 60 emails and 20 text messages a day. It was at this point Sally decided to contact the police for advice.