The Ministry of Justice have announced this month that the sentence for stalking is to be doubled to 10 years.
The decision to increase punishments for stalking follows cross-party political pressure in parliament. Two Conservative backbenchers, Alex Chalk and Richard Graham, introduced a private member’s bill last year calling for the limit to be doubled.
Their initiative was adopted by the Labour peer Janet Royall in the House of Lords where it was passed by a majority last month. Ministers have been in discussion since then with MPs and peers.
In 2015, a total of 194 people were convicted of stalking offences and 835 were convicted of the related offence of putting people in fear of violence. Early release rules require that in practice a five-year maximum means that a stalker who pleads guilty for the worst imaginable offence will serve just 18-20 months.The average custodial sentence for stalking was 14.1 months. That’s insufficient time for meaningful psychiatric treatment and rehabilitation – it’s also insufficient time to allow victims to feel truly safe.
The new sentencing rules have been widely welcomed.