New research highlights the CPS, HM Courts, and judiciary response to stalking victims, which is leaving many unprotected. 


  • Findings from Suzy Lamplugh Trust show only 1.4% of reports of stalking to police ended in the stalker being convicted in year ending March 2022. 
  • This is despite the stalking law having been introduced over a decade ago, suggesting a lack of understanding of stalking throughout the CPS and judiciary. 


The Suzy Lamplugh Trust on behalf of the National Stalking Consortium has released preliminary research detailing a lack of understanding in relation to behaviours that constitute stalking within the Crown Prosecution Service, HM Courts and Tribunals Service, and the judiciary, leading to an appallingly low number of charges, and an even lower number of convictions. 


The National Stalking Consortium, which is comprised of 21 stalking specialists including frontline services, victims and academics, have collated case studies to illustrate the issues that are putting many stalking victims at risk and that warrant further investigation. Only 6.6% of reports of stalking to the police in the year ending March 2022 resulted in a charge by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS). Only 1.4% of cases in that same year ended in the stalker being convicted.  

One victim who was diagnosed with complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) described the impact of the stalking as “killing her inside as it’s been going on for so long that it’s mentally and physically made me ill”. After her case was postponed at court multiple times, she said to us: “this is like a cancer, it goes on and on and I never get closure”. “I don’t understand how they [the court] allow another hearing and keep extending the case […] I feel this case has taken over my life […] I just want this to be over so I can move on with my life”.    

The report suggests a lack of understanding among prosecutors as to what behaviours constitute stalking, as well as a failure to acknowledge the mental health impacts of stalking when making charging decisions (91.5% of victims experienced psychological impacts due to stalking1). In some cases, the crime is charged as another offence such as harassment, thus setting a course for an incorrect pathway through the court process and a lack of adequate risk management for the victim. Some victims describe how their stalking cases are simply dropped altogether due to a perceived lack of evidence, despite clear indications of stalking behaviours. 

The National Stalking Consortium is also highly concerned that the lack of understanding of stalking extends to the judiciary. Magistrates’ courts which are responsible for issuing Stalking Protection Orders (SPOs) that offer victims additional protection, often dismiss the need for them on the grounds that other orders (such as restraining orders) are already in place. This is despite SPOs being the most efficient way to protect a victim from stalking behaviours.   


Drawing on victim testimony, the report proposes several recommendations in order to thoroughly investigate the issues brought up and begin to implement change to improve the CPS, HMCTS and judicial response to stalking, including: 

  • The creation of an independent task group to look further into the criminal justice process when it comes to stalking cases in England and Wales, from the point of charge to the trial in court. This group must ensure that all issues raised in these case studies are investigated thoroughly at a national level and addressed in order to ensure that the CPS, HMCTS and the judiciary adequately support victims of stalking.   
  • Any professional in the criminal justice system involved in any investigation or legal proceedings involving stalking (namely the Crown Prosecution Service, magistrates, judges, HMCTS personnel working on stalking cases, probation and police) must complete relevant specialist stalking training. This is vital to ensure the identification of the patterns of behaviour that amount to stalking and the associated risk to the victim when charging the crime, as well as understanding the stalking legislation correctly, including SPOs, to ensure victims are adequately supported and protected.  
  • Measures must be put in place to mitigate the potential distress caused to stalking victims throughout the court process. As part of this, any delays to hearings must be minimised and victims kept fully informed.  
  • The CPS and HMCTS must work with the police, the Home Office, the Ministry of Justice and the National Probation Service to implement a unified recording system which allows one to follow the journey of a victim and all incidents associated with them, from reporting stage through to conviction and sentencing. This must facilitate a clearer understanding of the reasons behind the high attrition rates for stalking across England and Wales.  


Suky Bhaker, CEO of Suzy Lamplugh Trust, says: “The Suzy Lamplugh Trust supports thousands of stalking victims every year, and many tell us that they are being let down on their journey to justice. A lack of understanding of stalking results in incorrect charges or cases being dropped altogether, putting victims at risk of further acts of stalking and increasing the potential psychological and physical harm they are likely to suffer. We urge the CPS, HMCTS and judiciary to implement our recommendations to improve their response to stalking across the country. The system must enable victims to achieve the safety and justice they deserve.” 


The Victims’ Commissioner for England and Wales, Baroness Newlove, says: “Stalking is one of the most frequently experienced forms of abuse. Yet it’s often misunderstood or mischaracterised by those working in our justice system, heightening victims’ distress. This report underscores the importance of listening to victims and the findings highlighted also echo what many victims tell me. My own survey of 500 victims found that only 8% felt fully supported by the courts and only 6% by the CPS. It is important these recommendations are given careful consideration, so that we can be sure we are giving victims of stalking all the support and protection they are entitled to expect.” 


Claire Waxman OBE, London’s Victims’ Commissioner says: “I welcome this new report from the National Stalking Consortium which provides critical insight for criminal justice agencies about the lived experience of stalking victims at the point of charge and beyond. Too often stalking victims are left at risk because of a lack of understanding about what constitutes stalking, or the cumulative impact of this terrifying crime. Agencies can also minimise stalking by looking at single incidents rather than the whole picture of offending. The report’s recommendations very much chime with what I have long called for: more training; improved use of Stalking Protection Orders; better data collection and early referral to specialist stalking services. We must do better to safeguard victims and save lives.” 



Authors of the report, representatives of Suzy Lamplugh Trust, and supporters are available for media comment by arrangement, please contact:

Suzy Lamplugh Trust: [email protected] / Tel: 07799 089 605  


Editor’s Notes    

What is stalking?  

Stalking is defined by Suzy Lamplugh Trust as a pattern of fixated and obsessive behaviour which is intrusive and causes fear of violence or engenders alarm and distress in the victim. Stalking behaviour is unwanted, repetitive, and it is almost always carried out (or orchestrated by) one individual towards another.   The behaviours can be offline (such as visiting the victim’s home or place of work, following the victim, or leaving gifts), or online (such as unwanted social media communication, calls, texts, emails, hacking, and spyware).


Suzy Lamplugh Trust:  

Suzy Lamplugh Trust is a national personal safety and stalking charity set up after the disappearance of Suzy Lamplugh 37 years ago. Our mission is to reduce the risk of violence and aggression through campaigning, education, and support. The Trust campaigns for better protections for victims of violence, aggression and stalking in policy and law. The Trust runs the National Stalking Service which has supported over 70,000 victims of stalking to date. 


National Stalking Consortium:  

In 2014 the National Stalking Consortium was formed and is chaired by the Trust, comprising of a body of 21 organisations and specialist individuals, including frontline services, victims, and academics across the UK. The Consortium meets quarterly and is crucial in terms of sharing best practice, identifying patterns of stalking behaviour, lobbying for changes in policy and legislation in relation to stalking and ensuring victims’ needs are kept at the forefront of our services across the country, providing a united voice within the sector.