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MP invited to join people’s inquiry to help reform anti-stalking laws

6th July 2011
MP invited to join people’s inquiry to help reform anti-stalking laws

Gordon Henderson has been invited to be a member of a "people's inquiry" that has been launched to help reform anti-stalking laws.

MPs and peers will focus on cyber-stalking, where victims are harassed through their mobile phones and online, and consider whether the existing laws in England and Wales are tough enough.

Mr Henderson was invited in his capacity as a member of the Justice Unions Parliamentary Group to take part in the inquiry that also aims to tackle "society's lenient attitude towards stalking".

A series of charities called for anti-stalking laws to be strengthened in April to stop cases leading to violence, rape and murder.

A stalkers register should be set up, they said, with police given specialist training to identify victims and deal with offences.

Up to five million people a year suffer from stalking or harassment and many victims will experience up to 100 incidents before talking to the police, British Crime Survey figures show.

Last year, prosecutors said stalkers were using GPS tracking technology and mobile phone applications to track their victims. The tactic, already seen in the United States, involves using websites and apps to pinpoint victims' locations using their mobile phones.

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has said that so-called cyber-stalking is becoming even more of a problem than traditional stalking in Britain.

The Inquiry will take evidence from a range of witnesses including Paul Infield who is Chairman of the Suzy Lampaugh Trust, which was set up following the disappearance of estate agent Suzy Lampaugh who was declared dead, presumed murdered, in 1994, despite her body never having been found. It was widely felt that Ms Lampaugh was stalked and murdered by one of her clients.

Mr Henderson said:

"I was delighted to be asked to take part in this inquiry because it addresses a very important issue that affects many people in our country, mainly women.

“Around one in five people will experience stalking in the UK in their lifetime and unfortunately what we are now seeing is a growing trend in cyber-stalking.

"Internet and mobile phone usage is constantly on the increase, and with the advent of numerous social networking sites, this type of harassment has, unfortunately, become a very real problem.”

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