A number of pressure groups were responsible for the introduction of Britain’s first anti-stalking laws, including the National Anti-Stalking and Harassment campaign led by Evonne Von Heussen. Evonne Von Heussen founded the National Anti-Stalking and Harassment Support Association in 1993 and immediately begun a public campaign to get the government to offer the victims of harassment greater protection.
The introduction of stalking is part of a wider campaign by the government to tackle domestic and sexual violence against women. According to a study, the majority of stalking victims are women thus the new legislation came in to force 25 November 2012 which is the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. This new and improved legislation is at present good law contrary to the Protection from Harassment Act 1997.
Although the vast majority of persons persecuted are male, particularly at the more serious level under section 4, it obviously cannot be said that stalking is purely a male crime. Anyone can be a victim of stalking.
The Protection from Harassment Act 1997 created two vital amendments to the Act which brought forward a new offence of stalking by creating section 2A and 4A. Although no strict definition of stalking, section 2A sets out examples of acts and omissions to be associated with stalking.
Examples given by the Act are as follows:
(a) following a person;
(b) contacting, or attempting to contact, a person by any means;
(c) publishing any statement or other material –
(i) relating or purporting to relate to a person; or
(ii) purporting to originate from a person;
(d) monitoring the use by a person of the internet, email or any other form of electronic communication;
(e) loitering in any place (whether public or private);
(f) interfering with any property in the possession of a person; and
(g) watching or spying on a person.
“stalkers can be obsessed fans, divorced or separated spouses, ex lovers, rejected suitors, neighbours, co-workers, classmates, gang members, former employees, disgruntled defendants, as well as complete strangers”. –
-McAnanery et al state (McAnerey et all 1993, pp 891-893)