Women’s Aid responds to HMICFRS report on stalking and harassment

Wednesday 10th April 2019


Today, Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services has published a report on the police response to stalking and harassment, looking at how police forces have improved their response to stalking and harassment crimes since their 2017 report, ‘Living in fear – the police and CPS response to harassment and stalking’. Read the full report online here.


Lucy Hadley, Campaigns and Public Affairs Manager at Women’s Aid, said:

“Time and time again we hear from survivors of domestic abuse that the police have not taken their experiences of stalking at the hands of their abusive ex-partner seriously. From our work with the campaigner Karen Ingala Smith developing the Femicide Census, we know that controlling and possessive behaviour from an ex-partner is a red flag that she is at serious risk of fatal violence from her abusive former partner.

“It is encouraging to see that stalking and harassment crimes are being better recorded by police, with latest figures from HMICFRS showing an uplift in recording of 40% year-on-year. However, it is possible that the 10% reduction in the proportion of domestic abuse-flagged stalking and harassment crimes may reflect a decline in effective recording of stalking cases within the context of domestic abuse. 40% of women supported by domestic abuse services in 2017/18 had experienced surveillance, harassment and stalking (Women’s Aid, Annual Audit 2019).

“Despite some progress being made by police forces, it is concerning that police forces are continuing to fall short when it comes to effectively handle stalking and harassment cases and give the appropriate level of support that survivors desperately need. It can be a matter of life or death that the police give the right response in stalking cases. That’s why we urge police leaders to invest in domestic abuse and stalking training, co-delivered by specialists like Women’s Aid, for all staff. Only by ensuring that all staff understand stalking within the context of domestic abuse can we ensure that these crimes are taken seriously from report to sentencing and that survivors get the support they need to live free from fear and abuse.”


If you are worried that your partner, or that of a friend or family member, is controlling and abusive, you can contact the Freephone 24-hour National Domestic Violence Helpline, run in partnership between Women’s Aid and Refuge, on 0808 2000 247 or visit www.womensaid.org.uk.


For more information, please contact the Women’s Aid press office: 020 7566 2511 / [email protected]

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