Paul Frew DUP Assembly member and Chairperson of the Justice Committee has acted on his commitments to victims and survivors by commencing a review of the need for stalking legislation.
This follows on from the debate on stalking in the Assembly on the 12 September which was moved by his DUP Colleague Brenda Hale MLA.
Frew stated, “I have met with a number of survivors along with Brenda to discuss this very serious issue. Brenda has subsequently written to the Committee officially asking if they would pursue legislation on stalking as a priority. I am glad that my Committee will conduct a review of the need for stalking legislation.
We need to assess current legislation in place in Northern Ireland to identify the gaps and to consider the potential benefits of introducing specific stalking legislation.
The Committee will identify the extent, types and impacts of stalking experienced by victims, as well as examine the key issues and the handling of cases by the criminal agencies. We will also consider examples of stalking legislation in other comparable jurisdictions.
The review will run from November 2016 to April 2017. We will meet with criminal justice organisations and agencies, practitioners and voluntary and support groups working with victims and survivors. We are keen to receive information on survivor experiences and will make appropriate arrangements to accommodate evidence from individuals and/or their families.”
Brenda Hale MLA further added, “This is great news, this review will assist us when moving forward to legislate on what is, a very serious issue. Society needs to realise the extent of this problem. We as elected representatives can lift the veil of this horrendous criminal activity and help ensure that perpetrators are detected and convicted quicker and just as importantly their victims can receive the support and protection they require.”