Scotland introduced stalking legislation to protect victims in 2010, England and Wales in 2012 after a parliamentary enquiry which also led to the creation of Paladin, the National Stalking Advocacy Service.
Northern Ireland however are still failing to protect victims of stalking by the lack of legislation. Whilst this was thought likely to be addressed this time last year, progress on introducing new legislation has been stalled due to the breakdown of the Assembly.
If Christine Lampard had suffered the same campaign of stalking in Northern Ireland as she has done in England, there would be no stalking charges brought and it would be treated as harassment which is a very different crime.
There is no justifiable reason in my view not to proceed as soon as possible, however I hope that in addition to this they will also consider ensuring that resources are available for training the law enforcement agencies as to the nature of stalking and how it impacts on victims as this is essential in ensuring that the legislation is used.
I would also urge them to consider creating a serial perpetrator domestic abuse and stalking register in line with the Paladin National Stalking Advocacy Service campaign which has so far received almost 150,000 signatures on the petition and has gained much cross-party support.
Northern Irish victims are affected just as much as victims in the rest of the UK and it is high time they were given the same protection.