Calls for national register to monitor stalkers and domestic abusers

Yvette Cooper MP.
Yvette Cooper MP.

Serial stalkers and domestic abusers should be placed on a national register and monitored under the same arrangements as rapists and paedophiles, according to a report led by Normanton, Pontefract and Castleford MP, Yvette Cooper.

MPs backed calls for a strengthened regime to ensure greater protection for victims who live in fear.

The Commons Home Affairs Committee, led by Ms Cooper, recommended that a national register be introduced “as a matter of urgency”.

She said: “Domestic abuse is one of the most dangerous and the most common crimes there is. The government is rightly proposing new legislation and a new strategy, but our inquiry found much stronger action is needed across the board.”

The report reads: “Victims of stalking often endure years of abuse before the crime is taken seriously. We were told that existing criminal justice responses were often ineffective in stopping perpetrators.”

In another recommendation, the committee urged the Government to consult on introducing paid “domestic abuse leave” to help victims keep their jobs and maintain economic independence.

The committee’s report flagged up a “desperate shortage” of refuge accommodation and that while police response to victims of domestic abuse is improving, there are still instances where it is inadequate.

Plans unveiled by ministers earlier this year include new orders such as electronic tagging on abusers, a new statutory definition of domestic abuse including a reference to “economic” abuse, and tougher sentences for crimes that affect children.