Stalking, cyber stalking and harassment can take place at school, within the work place and within Family relationships. At Watson Ramsbottom we can help in all of the above situations to achieve an end to the stalking behaviour and financial or criminal redress if appropriate. We are able to put clients in touch with professional support agencies and IT experts who can help obtain evidence in cyber stalking cases. Often cyber stalking, stalking and harassment is not taken seriously by the police and Crown Prosecution Service and Watson Ramsbottom can advocate on your behalf to ensure not only that charges are brought where possible but that the correct charges are brought resulting in more severe sentencing and protection for victims.
In addition to this Watson Ramsbottom can assist in obtaining protective Orders on behalf of victims and where appropriate obtaining monetary compensation.
If you are experiencing stalking or harassment you should ensure that you keep a diary of the behaviour and also the affect that the behaviour is having on you as this will be relevant in terms of which criminal charges are brought. It is also important that the behaviour is reported to the police and that your friends, family and work colleagues are aware of the situation as they may notice things that you do not. Do not destroy any evidence and think about ways in which you can gather evidence. Ensure you receive expert advice from Watson Ramsbottom and the support services such as Paladin – The National Stalking Advocacy Service – 0207 840 8960. Finally never make contact or respond to your stalker and ensure that the Police and Support Services carry out a stalking risk assessment in relation to your case.
Stalking – the law.
Stalking is not defined within the legislation although examples would be:
- Following a person
- Contacting or attempting to contact a person by any means
- Publishing any statement or other material relating to that person or purporting to be from that person
- Monitoring a person’s use of the internet, email or other communication
- Loitering in any place
- Interfering with any property in possession of a person
- Watching or spying on a person
- Publishing or threats to publicise intimate photographs (“revenge porn”)
Stalking has been a criminal offence since November 2012 and the legislation is contained within the protection from Harassment Act 1997 (as amended).
In order to bring charges for stalking you need to show a course of conduct (a minimum of 2 examples) which amount to harassment (section 2) or stalking (section 2a) – the maximum prison sentence in relation to these offences is 6 months.
In addition to this if you can show a fear of violence (section 4) and in particular stalking “which causes serious alarm or distress which has a substantial adverse effect on the victims usual day to day activities” (section 4a) – there is a maximum prison sentence of 5 years.
Even if the defendant is not convicted it is possible for the criminal Court to make a protective Restraining Order to protect the victim.
There are various Civil Orders which can be obtained to protect victims whether or not the police have been involved depending on their relationship to the stalker. It may be possible to obtain a Non Molestation Order against the perpetrator (see domestic violence section).
If you have not been in a relationship with the stalker or are related to them then it is likely that a Protection from Harassment Act Order will be the appropriate civil Order.
It is possible to obtain a civil Order preventing further stalking and harassment potentially with an unlimited duration. The Order can also exclude a perpetrator from an area around your home or place of work for example . We can advise further in relation to this and assist in drafting the paperwork, attending Court and obtaining the relevant Order which will need to be served upon the perpetrator.
For more information regarding domestic violence related issues – see the Domestic Abuse Lawyer Blog written by Rachel Horman
Please fill in the form on the right of the page or to arrange an appointment for a free initial consultation to discuss matters, please contact the head of our team Rachel Horman on 01254 67 22 22.
Our Clients Say:
Rachel Horman has been pioneering women’s leadership in legal practice for over twenty years. Often she is the first to comment on cutting edge developments in law reform such as stalking and coercive control. In addition she actively contributes to institutional reform to bring about innovative changes in law and practice, often well before these become topical or even thought of as possible. Rachel has an exceptional ability to engage clients who are at extreme risk. Through her tenacity, extensive legal knowledge and an innate sense of justice, she is genuinely able to help clients feel safer and gain enhanced legal or civil protection that reduces their risk. Having specialised in this areas of work for over 20 years, she has become a catalyst for change and earned her stripes as a respected advocate for women and children rights.
If there's one lawyer you need to get for your family law case, it's Sophia Isa. Sharp, knowledgeable, efficient and punctual, she really knows what she's doing. She represented me for an international relocation and child custody case, and won it on both counts. Her advice was always spot-on and she never lost sight of the end goal. Sophia responded to my queries quickly, met deadlines in advance, and always kept me updated about my situation.But what makes Sophia a brilliant lawyer, as opposed to just a good lawyer, is that she's invested in your case. She heard my concerns and addressed them above and beyond my expectations. Five stars all the way. I highly recommend Sophia and would not hesitate to use her again.
Rachel’s work as a solicitor in Domestic Violence arena can only be described as exceptional
I became a client Watson Ramsbottom after coming across them at refuge in Blackburn. I corresponded with Rachel briefly when you switched my lawyer from Helen to Sophia. I can't thank you enough for that decision. As a mother of four young children, my candle's burning on both ends. By the time I spoke to you, I was exhausted by everything in my life, including my legal proceedings. I had lost all faith in the legal process and, to be honest, still have qualms about how well the justice system understands coercive control. In any event, I wanted to thank you for taking the time to address my concerns, especially regarding my experience with Helen. It is unfortunate that she was my first experience with a lawyer, but your recommendation of Sophia more than made up for that. Sophia is a credit to your company and an amazing solicitor. She was knowledgeable, respectful and attentive -- all qualities that any client would look for. Thank you again, not only for your help, but also for your work on coercive control. People really don't get what it is and that's sad for the many women in the same situation as me.
Rachel is able to make people feel at ease, helps them understand the proceedings, gives them appropriate information to make informed decisions and always treats people with respect and dignity.
John Swanney is highly experienced in Care Proceedings and Matrimonial Finances. He is one of the best negotiators I have ever seen and has exceptional Advocacy skills, always able to think fast on his feet and obtain results for Clients.
Rachel Horman is an outstanding solicitor of her generation. Her career long activism in the field of domestic abuse marks her out as a lawyer whose technical skill is matched by a sense of justice. She has helped shape the modern law relating to coercive control and stalking and in that sense has both changed the way lawyers and society view these issues, but more importantly has helped countless individuals escape from abusive and dangerous situations.
Kalya made an extraordinary impression upon me during the time she was working on my case. I really appreciated how available Kalya made herself to me. Words cannot describe how supportive, knowledgeable, conscientious and brilliant with communication Kalya was. This cannot have been easy given the emotional situation I had. She is a credit to Watson Ramsbottom and the service they provide.
Debbie on reception was excellent, always very friendly, helpful and efficient. Diane, my legal advisor, was brilliant. I cannot thank her, nor, recommend her highly enough. She conversed by phone, letter and email, always in a timely manner, often quicker than I expected. Diane explained everything very clearly and was always willing to explain in detail again when I needed further clarification. I have used Watson Ramsbottom for Divorce, Wills, Financial Settlements and Conveyancing, I have always been treated with the upmost courtesy and respect whilst being dealt with in a very timely manner. I would absolutely have no hesitation recommending Watson Ramsbottom to anyone, and I do, when asked regularly.