Figures published by the Ministry of Justice show that many offenders convicted of stalking or harassment are escaping prison sentences for repeatedly breaking the terms of their restraining orders.
Of the 23,057 court orders issued in England and Wales during 2015, over a third of these were breached. Failure to obey the conditions set out can result in a custodial sentence of up to five-years, although the number of offenders prosecuted expose that this is often not the case. Shockingly, 60% of those who breached their restraining orders for a second time avoided being sent to prison, with the number being 49% for a third successive breach and 38% for a fourth. Experts have put the reason for such a high breach rate down to the obsessive nature of stalker behaviour.
This news has been met with concern by victim support groups who believe unless firm action is taken, many victims’ lives could be at risk. Failure to act could result in more serious offences such as assault, rape or even murder. Indeed, a recent study conducted by
Last week saw the conclusion of Emmerdale’s long running dementia storyline, with John Middleton delivering a heartbreaking final performance as his character Ashley Thomas bowed out of the soap after finally succumbing to his illness.
Viewers have watched Ashley’s story unfold since he was diagnosed with vascular dementia following a stroke. In December, an entire episode focused on seeing the world through Ashley’s eyes, showing the daily struggles he faced living with the condition.
The show’s producers worked closely with dementia charities throughout the creation of the storyline. John Middleton also took part in care home visits meeting sufferers and their families. When interviewed, John spoke of the importance of these visits in ensuring what was portrayed on screen was as accurate as possible.
“As I started researching vascular dementia, I thought we had a huge responsibility to get it right. A lot of people have first-hand experience and awareness of dementia so meeting people with dementia and their carers has been vital.”
John continued, “the way in which we have told the story is
Stepping into someone else’s property can be intimidating at times, especially if you are alone. Many lone working roles require staff to carry out home visits by themselves – for example community nurses, housing officers, carers, social workers and those doing repairs.
We have assembled some tips on how to make home visits safer for lone workers.
1. Plan your visit beforehand
Be prepared. If you are going somewhere new, check out the location prior to your visit so that you are familiar with the area. This helps you get to safety quicker if need be. If possible, it’s also a good idea to find out more about the person you are visiting. Therefore, you’ll be more prepared and aware of potential issues before you arrive.
2. Park your vehicle as nearby as possible
If travelling by car, park somewhere that enables you to make a fast exit. Choose a well-lit area, away from driveways or anywhere that you could be blocked in. Also, make sure you reverse in so it’s easier to maneuver out.
With the warmer weather on the way, you may be thinking about taking a trip abroad. If you’re planning a holiday or travelling to another country for work, there are a number of precautions you should take to help keep yourself and your valuables safe.
Our friends at Sainsbury’s Money Matters blog have produced a useful infographic (below) with advice on looking after your money when abroad. We’d also like to take this opportunity to share a few personal safety tips of our own.
Remember, it’s important to have fun and enjoy yourself, but keep the following advice in mind so that you’re prepared.
Do your research, find out where the nearest embassy is and make a note of this.
Know your destination so you are aware of any unsafe areas and crime hotspots. Check for official travel advice from the Foreign Office about the place you are visiting.
Inform your bank where and when
The feeling of being watched is something that most of us can relate to experiencing at some point. Thankfully in the majority of cases this is often just down to an overactive imagination, but what if your fears were correct? Worse still, what if you were being followed?
In this frightening scenario, instinct can play a key role. It’s important to trust your senses and keep a calm head to protect yourself and get to safety as quickly as possible. We have produced some advice on how to tell if you are being followed and what you should do.
Stay calm and in control of your fears
If you suspect someone is trailing you either on foot or by vehicle, your first thought may be to panic and speed up to try and lose them. In fact, this could actually make matters worse and put you in more danger, especially if you are driving. Instead slow down and take a deep breath. Note how the person responds, do they adjust their pace to match or hang back?