Stalking and harrassment crime has risen by more than 50% over the past year and is a trend that could be set to continue this year, according to new statistics.
The result of a Freedom of Information (FOI) request to Greater Manchester Police revealed that 4,434 crimes of this nature occurred over 2014/15, equalling a 62% rise since 2013/14.
Between April 1 and May 20 this year, an astonishing 961 stalking and harrassment crimes have occurred, which projects to a total of more than 6000 crimes occuring across the whole of 2015/16.
Although the rise could be attributed to more people feeling able to come forward to the police and the authorities taking it more seriously than before, the statistics still make for grim reading.
Tony Lloyd, Police and Crime Commisioner for GMP said: “It’s encouraging that more cases are being brought to court and I hope this reassures victims that they will be listened to and gives them the confidence to come forward and report it.
“Stalking has a devastating impact on people’s lives and it’s important to get the message out that police and prosecutors will take reports of stalking seriously.
“However, more needs to be done to make sure the needs of victims come first every time and is why I welcome steps to ensure there is a consistent approach to how victims of stalking and harassment are treated, and that police and prosecutors take their needs into account throughout the justice process so they get the help and support they need.”
Stalking has been against the law since 2012 and defendants can receive up to five years in prison for committing the act.
Two women are killed every week in the UK on average by stalkers and a significant proportion of them are stalked by their ex-partners before they are killed.
Earlier this year, MM spoke to murder victim Kate Boardman’s sister who called out for more people to take stalking seriously and get in touch with police as it can put people’s lives in danger.
An online petition to create a new stalking register, which would track and monitor people with a history of stalking, has been signed by more than 120,000 people.
Image courtesy of Zuerichs Strassen via FlickR, with thanks.