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Protection from Stalking Act (Northern Ireland) 2022

Section 6 to 17 – Stalking Protection Orders

Section 7 - Applications for orders

This section sets out who may apply for an order, what a stalking protection order is, and the grounds on which an application for an order may be made.

Subsection (1) sets out what a stalking protection order is: a preventative order which can impose both prohibitions and requirements on the perpetrator as are necessary for the purpose of preventing them from carrying out acts associated with stalking.

An order can prohibit the defendant from doing something, as far as is necessary, to protect the other person from risk of stalking, and could for example include prohibiting the defendant from:

  • entering certain locations or defined areas where the victim resides or frequently visits;

  • contacting the victim by any means, including via telephone, post, email, SMS text message or social media;

  • physically approaching the victim, at all or within a specified distance.

This is not an exhaustive list.

An order can also require the defendant to do something, as far as is necessary, to protect the other person from risk of stalking. Positive requirements could include, for example, requiring the defendant to:

  • attend a perpetrator intervention programme;

  • attend a mental health assessment.

This is not an exhaustive list.

An order may be made on application to a magistrates' court by the Chief Constable.

To make an application, the Chief Constable must be satisfied that the defendant has carried out acts associated with stalking; that they pose a risk of stalking to another person and that the order is necessary in order to protect the other person from that risk.

Subsection (3) sets out that the Chief Constable may make an application only in respect of someone who resides in Northern Ireland or who they believe is in or is intending to come to Northern Ireland.

Subsection (4) provides that the behaviour considered when making an application for an order can have taken place in any part of the United Kingdom, or abroad.  This can also include behaviour that took place prior to this Act coming into force.

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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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