HL Deb 09 July 1996 vol 574 c10WA
Viscount Allenby of Megiddo

asked Her Majesty's Government:

When they expect to publish their proposals to deal with stalking.

The Lord Chancellor (Lord Mackay of Clashfern)

I am today publishing a joint consultation paper with my right honourable friend the Home Secretary. A copy has been placed in the Library.

Stalkers can have a devastating effect on the lives of their victims, who are entitled to expect that the law will protect them. But this is a difficult area in which to legislate, as stalkers often behave in ways which do not overtly threaten their victims. But its sheer, oppressive persistence makes this activity so threatening.

The consultation paper proposes a new tort which will allow the victims of stalkers to seek an injunction against further harassment. It also proposes two new criminal offences which are intended to ensure that stalkers can be punished for activity which causes people to fear for their safety or which more generally causes harassment, alarm or distress.

It is important that any new measures against stalkers deal effectively with the problem whilst at the same time they do not prevent people from going about their lawful business. That is why it is important for the Government to consult on this subject.