Suzy Lamplugh Trust is deeply concerned about the reduction in conviction rates for stalkers from 2016 to 2017 and the record number of stalkers given suspended sentences in 2017.  

Ministry of Justice figures show that that the proportion of perpetrators convicted dropped by 2% between 2016 and 2017 with just 806 stalkers being sentenced.  The National Stalking Helpline responded to almost 4,000 people seeking support and help in the same period and this data shows that their experiences are not being taken seriously. 

 Moreover, the sentences being passed show that there is still a great deal of work to be done to protect victims of stalking and ensure the impact and risk to the victims is taken seriously.  258 (32%) were given suspended sentences – this is the highest number on record.  Stalking is an insidious crime that affects one in five women and one in ten men across their lifetime. It commonly causes prolonged suffering for victims with around a third of cases involving physical violence. Recent research has found that 55% of stalking perpetrators go on to reoffend, and 36% have a previous conviction for harassment. 

 Despite the law recently changing to enable tougher sentences of up to ten years, the data from the Ministry of Justice shows that 48 offenders were given fines and 264 were given community sentences.  There needs to be a culture change across the criminal justice system to better recognise and address the psychological trauma experienced by victims and the need for the new sentencing powers to be used appropriately.