In response to the Crown Prosecution Service’s 10th Annual Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) report, Chief Executive of Suzy Lamplugh Trust, Rachel Griffin said: 

“Today’s report highlights that more work must be done to ensure that stalking is taken seriously across the criminal justice system. Although one in five women will be stalked in their lifetime, only a fraction of reported cases, and even fewer victims who experience stalking, will ever reach court. The consistently low number of cases reaching a first hearing is worrying: stalking is a prevalent and devastating crime, and we must ensure that the criminal justice system is supporting the 1.1m victims of stalking nationwide.

It is disappointing that last year saw a 13% decrease in the number of stalkers reaching a first hearing. This is after a stagnation in figures the year before. To put this into perspective, at the National Stalking Helpline, we supported 3,599 people last year, but in the same period, only 959 cases reached court. We know from Office of National Statistics that more cases of stalking are being reported to the police than ever before, and this decrease is therefore both unacceptable and concerning. The psychological trauma that stalking causes victims must always be taken seriously.

It is clear there is an urgent need for improved understanding of stalking and harassment within the Crown Prosecution Service, and we welcome recognition of this in the report. Every prosecutor must be able to recognise dangerous patterns of obsessive, fixated behaviour, and we would be delighted to work with CPS in helping them to deliver robust, specialist stalking awareness training to their staff.

This year’s CPS VAWG report outlines the work ahead of the Prosecution Service to deliver the best outcome for victims. We look forward to working with the CPS VAWG leads to ensure next year’s report shows an improvement in the number of charged stalking cases.”