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Stalking Protection Orders come into force

New Stalking Protection Orders (SPOs) come into effect on 20 January 2020. 

SPOs are introduced by the Stalking Protection Act 2019. The provisions of the Act have been brought into force by the Stalking Protection Act 2019 (Commencement) Regulations 2020.

The Act makes provision for SPOs which will:

The new order is designed for use particularly in cases where existing interventions are not always applicable, namely when:

The intention of this Act is to provide the police with an additional tool with which to protect victims of stalking and to fill a gap within the existing protective order regime. SPOs will allow courts in England and Wales to move more quickly to ban stalkers from contacting victims or visiting their home, place of work or study.

In addition to banning alleged perpetrators from approaching or contacting their victims, SPOs can also require stalkers to seek professional help.
According to the Crime Survey for England and Wales, almost one in five women over the age of 16 have experienced stalking, as well as almost one in ten men.

The Orders will usually last for a minimum of 2 years, with a breach counting as a criminal offence that can result in up to 5 years in prison.

Minister for Safeguarding and Vulnerability, Victoria Atkins said:

"Every year, thousands of people live with the terrifying experience of being stalked, which can lead to victims feeling isolated, abused or even losing their lives.

"I am determined that we do everything we can to better protect victims and new Stalking Protection Orders will help the police to intervene and take action against perpetrators at the earliest opportunity."

In addition to the SPOs, courts will also be able to impose an interim SPO to provide immediate protection for victims while a decision is being made.

For the Act, click here. For the Commencement Regulations, click here.