Plaid Cymru takes debate on stalking to Senedd

Plaid Cymru is today calling for direct action from Welsh Government to tackle stalking.

In the UK, 1 in 5 women and 1 in 10 men will be stalked in their lifetime, and charities say that incidents are severely under-reported.

Sioned Williams MS, Plaid Cymru’s spokesperson on social justice and equalities says that action must be taken “not only for the huge impact it has on survivors, but for the threat it poses to life.”

Ms Williams says that stalking is a “symptom” of “wider cultural issue in society of violence, harassment and abuse” particularly against women and girls, but notes that people are also likely to be targets of stalking due to race, sexuality and longstanding illness or disability.

Today (Wednesday 2 February) Plaid Cymru will bring a debate to the Senedd on stalking, in which Welsh Government will be called upon to provide specialist support for victims, improve police handling of stalking and put in place measures to help limit and prevent stalking.

Plaid Cymru’s spokesperson for Social Justice and Equalities, Sioned Williams MS said,

“People have had to adjust the way they live their lives, out of fear, for far too long. Fear should never be the norm, and yet it’s something that too many people in our society have had to learn to adapt to.

“1 in 5 women will experience stalking in their lifetime – and that’s just those that report it to the police! But stalking is a symptom of wider cultural issue. Violence against women and girls is becoming far too common, with harassment, abuse and violence being a daily experience for many who are targeted on the basis of their perceived gender, race, disability or sexuality.

“When victims talk about feeling like ‘sitting ducks’ at the mercy of online stalkers, and too many suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, it’s clear that we need to improve police approach to handling incidents of stalking, and rethink the support offered to victims here in Wales. The Welsh Government should also provide guidelines to ensure that the design of public spaces considers the safety of those most likely to become victims of stalking.  

“We also have an opportunity through the new curriculum to foster a culture that prevents the occurrence of stalking in the first place. When stalking charities have reported a rise in stalking in victims’ former partners, the importance of teaching healthy and respectful relationships has never been more important.”