However, as also stated in the consultation: “The actions of a bully may appear harmless at an early stage, and it may be difficult to detect signs of the fixed and evolving nature of bullying at an early stage, when intervention may be more effective. “The consultation therefore sought views on whether the introduction of a new SPO would provide the police with new opportunities to protect victims and deter perpetrators before they reach the stage where charges can or should be brought. The police can apply for a special protection order if they are satisfied that the defendant has committed acts related to the harassment, poses a risk to another person and the order is necessary to protect the person from that risk. The intention of the legislation, we are told, “is to provide the police with an additional tool to protect victims of harassment and to fill a gap in the current protection order system”. “And that, I think, is the essence of it. This changed in November 2012, when the government introduced two new harassment offences into the 1997 Protection from Harassment Act: stalking and harassment associated with fear of violence or serious concern and distress. Protection from Harassment: I have long thought that it must be a particularly terrible thing to be a victim of harassment. I am sure we all agree and hope that such a response will reduce the suffering that victims of harassment have to endure. “Today is an important milestone in the way stalking is treated in England and Wales and an acknowledgement of the suffering that stalking victims can endure. An SPO can impose both prohibitions and conditions on the perpetrator that are necessary to prevent the perpetrator from committing acts related to stalking. The Act introduces another way of protecting victims: Stalking Protective Orders, or SPOs for short. The provisions of the Stalking Protection Orders 2019 took effect on Monday of this week. While SPOs are not necessarily common, they will at least provide an additional tool to combat the scourge of stalking. It has been addressed under other laws that are not specifically aimed at harassment. Until 2012, there was no specific criminal offence for harassment. If you would like advice on a family law matter, you can find more articles here or contact our Client Support Team to speak to one of our family law attorneys. The court may prohibit them from doing anything, such as contacting or approaching the victim, and may require them to participate in an offender intervention program, for example. Stowe Family Law LLP is licensed and regulated by the Applicants Regulatory Authority.