http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/london/8059336.stm

Until the Criminal Justice Agencies and society in general realises that stalking is not a minor, nuisance crime tragedies like this will continue to happen.

I know that the Association of Chief Police Officers [ACPO] Working Group on Stalking/Harassment has been working hard to address issues such as effective risk identification, assessment and management, but it is vital that the message reaches every police officer consistently and that every police officer is specially trained in the new DASH risk assessment, devised by the UK’s experts on domestic violence and stalking so that we do not end up where we are now; different forces trained to different standards using different risk assessment tool kits in different areas. This must not continue to happen, otherwise we have learnt nothing from previous homicide reviews and the tragedies will continue. A standardised and consistent approach to risk assessment must be adopted with consistent and rigorous training which will result in consistent results; lives being saved or prevented from further damage, be it physical or psychological.

Where the police are leading, it is also vital that the other criminal justice agencies follow; stalking/harassment is NOT a minor crime; this must be dealt with as murder prevention so that background checks and assessments on the alleged perpetrators are to hand and they are not released on bail or given sentences which will effectively put victims more at risk, resulting in inadequate or no protection . More effective communication between the agencies is essential, the Family Justice Centres (eg Croydon) are an excellent example of this beginning to happen.

Yet again I will say; it is vital that every stalking case is taken seriously; this is about murder prevention.

This country needs a sea change in attitude so that the ‘Human Rights’ and life of a victim is put above that of the perpetrator.

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