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Protection from Stalking Act (Northern Ireland) 2022


6.The Act contains 23 sections and is divided into 3 parts.

7.The first part of the Act deals with the offence of stalking, alternative offence of threatening and abusive behaviour and special measures. The second part deals with the introduction of Stalking Protection Orders and the third part deals with interpretation, commencement and short title of the Act.

First part – Offences

8.This gives effect to the intention to improve the operation of the justice system by creating a specific offence of stalking that recognises the experience of victims and the behaviour associated with stalking. The Act recognises in law that stalking is often a course of behaviour which causes fear, alarm or substantial distress to the victim and includes conduct on two or more occasions.

9.The Act also includes the offence of threatening or abusive behaviour that can be made out after a single incident or a course of conduct. The offence can also be used as an alternative conviction when the facts do not amount to the offence of stalking in proceedings. The Act also provides that all victims of stalking will have automatic eligibility for assistance (such as the use of live links or screens at court) with giving evidence in proceedings.

Second part – Stalking Protection Orders

10.The Act introduces provision for Stalking Protection Orders to provide protection to a person at risk of stalking. They will enable early police intervention pre-conviction to address stalking behaviours before they become entrenched or escalate in severity and to protect victims from more serious harm. Stalking Protection Orders can equally be made post-conviction to help to prevent further stalking.

11.The police will be able to apply to the court for a Stalking Protection Order if it appears that a person has carried out acts associated with stalking; poses a risk associated with stalking to another person and there is reasonable cause to believe the Stalking Protection Order is necessary to protect another person from such risk.

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Explanatory Notes

Text created by the Northern Ireland Assembly department responsible for the subject matter of the Act to explain what the Act sets out to achieve and to make the Act accessible to readers who are not legally qualified. Explanatory Notes accompany all Acts of the Northern Ireland Assembly.


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