Rona Mackay was elected in May 2016 with a 8,100 majority in Strathkelvin and Bearsden.

Prior to this, she was a journalist in national newspapers for more than 20 years, before becoming Parliamentary Assistant to Clydebank and Milngavie MSP Gil Paterson, with whom she worked for nine years before becoming elected.

 

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Proposed Stalking Protection (Scotland) Bill

A proposal for a Bill to increase protection for victims of stalking by giving police the power to apply for stalking protection orders on behalf of victims

View consultation responses

Recorded incidences of stalking have almost doubled in the last five years and the rise of cyber-stalking, through social media and mobile phone apps, shows no signs of abating. It is widely recognised that stalkers can have a profound effect on their victims, both mentally and physically, and that stalking behaviour can culminate in serious violence.

 

The dramatic rise in stalking offences since 2012 has led to calls, from victims of stalking and relevant stakeholders, for victims of these crimes to be given greater protection.  A survey by the Scottish Government in 2017/18 found 27% of women aged 16-24 had experienced at least one incident of stalking in the previous year.  Overall 11% of adults experienced at least one type of stalking and harassment in 12 months.

 

Currently, individuals who are being stalked can apply to the court to have a Non-Harassment Order (NHO) taken out against a stalker. This means that the victim has to take legal action themselves, which can be costly and stressful, and the numbers of victims applying for NHOs has therefore been empirically low.

 

Prosecutors can apply for an NHO once a stalker has been convicted. However, criminal cases take time to investigate and prosecute, leaving the victim to navigate a civil action at a particularly vulnerable time. In addition, if they do not qualify for legal aid, the cost is prohibitive.

 

My proposal aims to give victims greater protection, and access to justice, by allowing the police to apply directly to the court for a Stalking Protection Order (SPO). The police will have to show that there is evidence of stalking behaviour and that they believe that there is a risk to the victim. An Order would then prohibit the stalker from continuing this behaviour.

 

Breaching an SPO would be a criminal offence, in the same way that breaching an NHO is a criminal offence. However, it is not my intention that SPOs would replace criminal convictions for the offence of stalking - for example, a breach of an SPO could help to provide evidence for an ongoing criminal investigation. The advantage of SPOs is that they would provide a quicker procedure for the protection of the victim.

 

The UK Parliament has recently passed the Stalking Protection Act 2019, which provides the police with powers to apply for SPOs for victims in England and Wales. It is imperative that victims who are stalked in Scotland have access to a similar level of protection.

 

Being a victim of stalking is frightening, distressing, often relentless, and can cause severe damage to victims’ mental and physical well-being. SPOs would give the police an additional legal tool to increase protection for victims, which in turn may encourage more victims to report this pernicious crime. 

Rona Mackay

April 2019

How to respond to the consultation

Online

You are encouraged to submit your response via an online survey (Smart Survey) if possible, as this is quicker and more efficient both for you and the Parliament.  However, if you do not have online access, or prefer not to use Smart Survey, you may also respond by e-mail or in hard copy.

Email or post

Responses not made via Smart Survey should, if possible, be prepared electronically (preferably in MS Word). Please keep formatting of this document to a minimum. Please send the document by e-mail (as an attachment, rather than in the body of the e-mail) to:

Rona.mackay.msp@parliament.scot

 

Responses prepared in hard copy should either be scanned and sent as an attachment to the above e-mail address or sent by post to:

 

Rona Mackay MSP

18a Townhead

Kirkintilloch

G66 1NL

 

Responses submitted by e-mail or hard copy may be entered into Smart Survey by my office or by NGBU.

 

If submitting a response by e-mail or hard copy, please include written confirmation that you have read and understood the Privacy Notice.

 

You may also contact my office by telephone on 0141 776 1561.

How to respond to the consultation

Online

You are encouraged to submit your response via an online survey (Smart Survey) if possible, as this is quicker and more efficient both for you and the Parliament.  However, if you do not have online access, or prefer not to use Smart Survey, you may also respond by e-mail or in hard copy.

Email or post

Responses not made via Smart Survey should, if possible, be prepared electronically (preferably in MS Word). Please keep formatting of this document to a minimum. Please send the document by e-mail (as an attachment, rather than in the body of the e-mail) to:

Rona.mackay.msp@parliament.scot

 

Responses prepared in hard copy should either be scanned and sent as an attachment to the above e-mail address or sent by post to:

 

Rona Mackay MSP

18a Townhead

Kirkintilloch

G66 1NL

 

Responses submitted by e-mail or hard copy may be entered into Smart Survey by my office or by NGBU.

 

If submitting a response by e-mail or hard copy, please include written confirmation that you have read and understood the Privacy Notice.

 

You may also contact my office by telephone on 0141 776 1561.