Leading campaigner, Alex Chalk MP is backing a new national campaign to fight the scourge of stalkers who cause misery for millions of people. After a long campaign on behalf of a Cheltenham GP who suffered a dreadful stalking ordeal, Alex Chalk recently managed to get the law changed.
After tabling a Private Member’s Bill, leading debates and working with cross-party Parliamentarians, Mr Chalk managed to secure a doubling in the maximum sentence from five to ten years and give judges the tools they needed to keep victims safe.
Alex joined Suzy Lamplugh Trust for an event held in Westminster to mark National Stalking Awareness Week on Tuesday 24th April.
Home Secretary Rt Hon Amber Rudd MP and the Deputy Speaker of the House of Commons Rt Hon Lindsay Hoyle MP both spoke at the event of the cross-party accord that exists on the subject of stalking.
The Suzy Lamplugh Trust hosted the event to present an opportunity for policy makers to meet some of the victims of the crime, which affects 1 in 5 women and 1 in 10 men at some stage in their lifetimes.
Renowned criminologist Dr Jane Monckton-Smith used the event to launch her research linking cases of homicide to stalking behaviour.
Dr Monckton-Smith and her team looked at more than 350 recent murder cases involving a man killing a woman or a girl and found that in 94% of cases, the killer presented the fixated and obsessive behaviour associated with stalking. This figure also includes women who, unable to cope with trauma of being stalked, had taken their own lives.
Speaking at the event, Home Secretary Amber Rudd said: "You have my gratitude and my admiration for the work that you do at the Suzy Lamplugh Trust.
"I remember when I was in my 20s hearing about Suzy's disappearance. It was a very frightening blow for women across the country."
Alex Chalk commented: "I am proud of the huge strides that have been made in tackling the menace of stalking – including doubling the maximum sentence earlier this year. At every step of that campaign in Parliament, the Suzy Lamplugh Trust were at our side, and I’m very grateful. Better training for police is another sensible proposal which I’m happy to support.”
Dr Monckton-Smith commented: "I am an academic but I am also out there helping the victims of stalking.
"Our research makes a very clear case for stalking behaviour to be used as an indicator to the link between this crime and murder.
Suzy Lamplugh Trust Chair Sir Ian Johnston said: "The work of Dr Monckton Smith provides us with very conclusive and clear evidence that stalking needs to be taken more seriously both by police and the victims of stalking themselves.
"We need to make sure the motivation and intention of stalking are identified at the earliest possible stage to make sure it does not escalate. Often the instances of stalking behaviour can seem innocuous when taken in isolation but not when viewed as a whole. At Suzy Lamplugh Trust we have supported too many grieving families and others whose lives have been ruined by stalkers and whose safety has, unfortunately not been protected by the police or has not been treated seriously enough.
"I hope Dr Monckton-Smith's recommendations arising from her research will now be acted upon by those at all levels of the criminal justice system."