In Northern Ireland, we now have new legislation making stalking a criminal offence. The Protection from Stalking Act (Northern Ireland) 2022 came into force in April 2022 and allows for a person to be arrested for stalking if they have engaged in a course of conduct that causes their victim to suffer fear, alarm, or substantial distress. This legislation also makes it a criminal offence for a person to behave in a threatening or abusive manner towards a victim which would reasonably cause them to suffer fear and alarm. If a person is convicted of the offence of stalking, the maximum sentence is imprisonment of up to 10 years.
If you are being harassed or stalked, it is vital that you report matters to the Police as soon as possible. Under our new stalking law, the police will be able to take steps to investigate bringing criminal charges against your stalker for their behaviour against you.
You can also apply to the Court asking for an Order to be made against your stalker to protect you from any further harassing or stalking behaviour.
If you and the person stalking you are family members or if you have lived together in a familial relationship or have a child together, then you can apply for a Non-Molestation Order against them. If a Non-Molestation Order is granted, this individual is restrained from being able to molest, harass, pester, use or threaten violence against you or contact you at all. If they breach this Order they can be charged with committing a criminal offence.
If you and the person stalking you are not related to one another via blood or marriage and indeed if the person stalking you is not known to you, you may be able to apply to the Court for a Civil Injunction against that person if there is evidence of two separate incidents of harassment.
At Francis Hanna & Co Solicitors, we have experienced and specialist solicitors who can assist you in obtaining the protection you need from the person harassing you. We can further advise on whether you would be entitled to legal aid assistance with any applicaiotn made.