The power of consultation aims to alter Northern Ireland’s status as the only region of the UK or Ireland without stalking legislation, according to this article in yesterday’s Irish times.
Brian Grzymek, head of criminal justice policy and legislation at the Department of Justice and his team, have been restricted to using 20-year-old harassment laws to combat the issue of stalking, but all that may be about to change.
In the search to define how best to protect victims of obsessive harassing behaviour in Northern Ireland, Mr Grzymek and his team met with both male and female victims in advance of the consultation. The team have been gleaning what they can from best practice across the rest of UK and Ireland in order to create an effective system bespoke to Northern Ireland.
Sinead Larkin of Larkin O’Connor Cassidy, one of Northern Ireland’s most senior family court lawyers, said she is in favour of legislative change referring to current measures as “very hit and miss”
“We’ve already gone through a rigorous process. We’ve talked to victims’ groups, a lot of individual victims and experts here and elsewhere…..Navigating a complicated and unfamiliar justice system without independent legal support can be daunting, distressing and at times feel like part of the harassment.”
An online consultation into the issue, entitled “Stalking: A Serious Concern” can be accessed here and closes on the 21st February 2019
Any of our readers seeking further information on the issue of stalking and the wide variety of help and support available to victims, should contact the Suzy Lamplugh trust here.