Suzy Lamplugh Trust is pleased to see that Claire Waxman’s stalker has been found guilty of breaching a Restraining Order three times. Disappointingly, the courts have failed to convict the perpetrator of the higher 4a offence of stalking. It is of immense concern to the Trust that a case spanning two decades in the courts, with the backing of senior MPS officers and specialist advocates (within the Stalking Threat Assessment Centre), and most importantly the determination and expertise brought by the Victims’ Commissioner herself, has not succeeded in being awarded the appropriate conviction. Individuals with additional barriers to the criminal justice system therefore face even greater hurdles to receiving the appropriate response. Stalking is a crime which devastates the lives of victims and those around them. Due to the unique nature of stalking, where early intervention is missed, the fixation and obsession embeds itself and cases last years, or such as in Ms Waxman’s case, decades, leaving an indelible mark on the victim.

It is evident that the response to stalking in its current form is not sufficient and is leaving victims at great risk. Conviction rates for stalking sit at 0.1%, and victims on the National Stalking Helpline continuously report not being taken seriously by police or prosecutors. Despite small pockets of good practice, the use of Stalking Protection Orders remains extremely low in the majority of police forces across England and Wales, and breaches are rarely treated as a criminal offence. For this reason, we are calling for an independent task group to examine the shockingly low levels of convictions for stalking including the implementation of the legislation as it currently stands, and the lack and misuse of Stalking Protection Orders. These overwhelming obstacles result in the majority of victims not receiving the justice that they deserve.

Our thoughts are with Claire and all victims of stalking during this extremely difficult time.