THE justice system is “failing” to protect victims of stalking, harassment and domestic abuse from their offenders, according to a damning report released yesterday.
Just over half of the 122 victims surveyed in the report — carried out by Plaid Cymru and victims’ rights charity Voice4Victims — had a restraining order taken out against their perpetrator.
Of these court orders, two-thirds did not explicitly forbid the perpetrators from contacting their victims online despite its prevalence in day-to-day life.
The study found that more than half of the victims were contacted on the internet at least once by their abuser, while more than a quarter reported that they had been approached online more than three times.
Victims reported low satisfaction with how the police dealt with the unwanted communication, and almost two thirds of respondents said the service they received was “poor” or “extremely poor.”
Plaid Cymru MP Liz Saville Roberts said the situation was “much bleaker” than expected. She warned that there are “serious inadequacies in the criminal justice system and serious failings by criminal justice agencies.”
Ms Roberts said she would be introducing a private member’s Bill to strengthen restraining orders if reelected in June.
Voice4Victims founder Claire Waxham said the report supports anecdotal evidence amassed over the last few years that restraining orders are not being upheld by police and courts and that they are allowing abusers too many opportunities to breach these orders without sanctions.
Ms Waxham said: “Restraining orders are suppose to protect victims and give them some security but it is clear that this legal intervention is not deterring abusers and as a result, victims are suffering undue stress and trauma.”
She called for restraining orders to be strengthened and “must always include banning online contact and vexatious claims through the courts.”