A North Antrim MLA is at the forefront of bringing in new legislation to combat the growing scourge of ‘stalkers’ in modern society.
Paul Frew, the DUP Assembly member who is also Chairperson of the Justice Committee has commenced a review of the issue following a debate in the Assembly which was moved by his party Colleague Brenda Hale MLA .
Mr. Frew said: “I have met with a number of survivors along with Brenda to discuss this very serious issue. We need to assess current legislation in place in Northern Ireland to identify the gaps and to consider the potential benefits of introducing specific anti-stalking legislation.
“The Committee will identify the extent, types and impacts of stalking experienced by victims. It will examine the key issues and the handling of cases by the criminal agencies.
“The committee 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 & support groups working with victims and survivors and of course 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 said new legislation was desperately needed: “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 .”