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The Government is clear that stalking and harassment, which cause misery for victims, are totally unacceptable. The fixated nature of stalking may result in a prolonged campaign sometimes lasting many years. So we are determined to do everything possible to protect all victims of stalking and stop perpetrators at the earliest opportunity – even before the stage at which a perpetrator might be prosecuted. That is why, following a public consultation, we have recently announced that there will be a new civil stalking protection order, to support victims of stalking at an earlier stage and address the perpetrator’s behaviours before they become entrenched.
The number of restraining orders imposed as result of stalking and harassment in England and Wales, 2014 and 2015 can be viewed in the table. Information on the specific restrictions included in a restraining order is not held centrally and could only be obtained at disproportionate cost.
Nor do we hold data on how frequently perpetrators of these crimes seek to contact their victims through action in the civil or family courts. The courts do have powers to deal with unmeritorious claims and applications. The court may strike out the action as an abuse of process or issue an order restricting the litigant’s ability to continue with further applications or claims, either of its own motion or on request by a party to the proceedings.