Wednesday, September 21, 2022

Victorian Law Reform Commission Final Report on Stalking

This week, the Victorian Law Reform Commission tabled its final report on responses to stalking to the state parliament.

The state of Victoria is in south-eastern Australia and its capital is Melbourne.

The report contains recommendations to improve the ways that the justice system treats people who have experienced stalking in a non-family violence context. 

It says that victims should have easier access to financial and practical support, such as technology to prevent cyberstalking. Victims should be supported by independent advocates to guide them through every stage, from reporting the stalking activity to accessing support services and any court actions.

Another recommendation calls for the Crimes Act to be amended to make the stalking offence clearer and easier to apply.

Related posts that deal with stalking include:

  • Handbook for Police and Crown Prosecutors on Criminal Harassment (May 21, 2013): "The Handbook was developed by a working group of federal/provincial/territorial criminal justice officials in consultation with criminal justice professionals. It was  first published in 1999 and updated in 2004. The development of these  guidelines was prompted by the findings and recommendations of the 1996 Department of Justice Canada review of the criminal harassment provisions in the Criminal Code. The updates have been published in response to positive feedback regarding the usefulness of the Handbook and requests for more current information."
  • Law Reform Commission of Ireland Report on Domestic Violence Law (December 5, 2013): "The second issue discussed in the Report is whether the offence of harassment in the Non-Fatal Offences Against the Person Act 1997 addresses sufficiently the problem of stalking in domestic violence cases. The Report notes that most prosecutions for harassment involve domestic cases, and usually involves stalking by former spouses and partners. The current law requires that the harassment must involve “following, watching, pestering, besetting or communicating” and must be done “persistently.” The Commission’s Report points out that the requirement of “persistence” means that a person can be convicted of harassment where stalking involves a single long episode of continuous following or pestering. By contrast, under English law the harassment or stalking must involve at least two separate types of conduct. The Report concludes that the current requirements in the 1997 Act impose appropriate legal thresholds and standards that should be met in order to convict a person of stalking."
  • Irish Law Reform Commission Report on Harmful Communications and Digital Safety (October 1, 2016): "The Report also recommends reforms of the existing offence of harassment, to ensure that it includes online activity such as posting fake social media profiles; and that there should be a separate offence of stalking, which is really an aggravated form of harassment."
  • Statistics Canada Article on Family Violence in Canada (January 22, 2018): "The 2016 edition of the report features an in-depth analysis of self-reported stalking in Canada, using data from the 2014 General Social Survey on Canadians' Safety (Victimization). This featured section examines the nature and prevalence of self-reported stalking, including how stalking behaviour has changed over time. A particular focus on intimate partner stalking is also presented, including an overview of how stalking that occurs in the context of these relationships differs from other kinds of stalking in important ways."

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 1:58 pm


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