Public input sought for stalking law

| 04/02/2014

(CNS): Five years after the Young Business and Professional Women’s Club (YBPW) recommended the need to address the problem of stalking and sexual harrassment government officials are examining the possibility of amending the Penal Code and introducing a bill to prevent this anti-social, sometimes frightening, unwanted attention. The Law Reform Commission (LRC) said it is examining ways to address the problems by defining stalking and identifying appropriate legal remedies to prevent or reduce harm brought about by such conduct and criminalize the behaviour. From unwanted gifts or repeatedly following someone, to watching a victim’s home or even violence, stalking can be hard to define but those who fall victim can attest to its sometimes terrifying impact.

“Ultimately, the objective of the legislation is to reinforce that actions which constitute stalking may cause psychiatric and psychological harm and may result in serious danger to the person affected,” the commission stated in a release announcing a consultation period.  “It is therefore in the best interests of our society to take immediate and effective action when cases of stalking arise."

The LRC said it proposes to respond to the main issues by way of a consultation Penal Code (Amendment) Bill, 2014 and a Stalking (Civil Jurisdiction) Bill, 2014, which will seek to criminalise and provide remedies for conduct that would be defined as stalking.

Covering a wide range of anti-social behaviour, the legal drafters said making unwelcome visits, making unwanted communications or silent telephone calls, repeatedly following a person on the streets, watching the victim’s home orplace of work, persistently sending unwanted gifts or articles to the victim, disclosing intimate facts about the victim to third parties, making false accusations about the victim, damaging property belonging to the victim or physical and verbal abuse, could all constitute stalking.

The legislation would proposed a number of categories of stalkers, such as the rejected stalker, predatory stalkers, debt collectors, erotomanics, love obsessed stalkers, sociopathic stalkers, stalkers with false victimisation syndromes, disgruntled clients or employees of private or public organisations and cyberstalkers.

Stakeholders and the general public are now invited to provide comments on the draft legislation before 21 March.

Meanwhile, a draft sexual harassment bill which was drawn up last year and also came out of the YBPW’s 2005 work is still going through the process of being examined by officials at the Gender Affairs Ministry. It has yet to go to Cabinet for approval.

The LRC reminded those who wish to offer submission on a potential stalking bill that unless marked to the contrary, the LRC will assume that comments received are not confidential, and that respondents consent to them quoting from, or referring to, their comments and attributing their comments to them, and to the release or publication of their submissions. Requests for confidentiality or anonymity will be respected to the extent permitted by the Freedom of Information Law, 2007, the commissions added.

Submissions should be forwarded in writing by post or hand no later than 21st March, 2014 to the Director, Law Reform Commission, Ground Floor – dms House, 20 Genesis Close, George Town, Grand Cayman, P.O. Box 907, Grand Cayman KY1-1103 or emailed to cheryl.neblett@gov.ky

See relevant documents below.

Category: Crime

Comments (3)

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  1. Ky.1 says:

    Some women want men to stalk them. I heard a conversation one time ago with two ladies on how they could set up her estranged husband by taking something that belongs to him and making a number of police reports against him for harassment. This.. to make an easy divorce on their favor. Of course, the courts in Cayman love to go on the man's side more than the woman's side – lol  yaaaahhh right!  We speak so much about gender equality in the Cayman Isalnds and the bad things men do to women, but what about gender equality in the courts???

  2. Anonymous says:

    Great! Another bill to legislate an undefined subject matter when police resoures are unable to cope with the current laws. Essentially this will be no more than "feel good" legislation and a sense of false protection.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Is sexual harrassement not compulsory here? Where is this going to end? Good Lord, they will want us to drive sober soon.

     

    All very well, but as is repeated time and time and time again…a law is no good unless enforced.