Responding to harassment by suspected perpetrators

Many parents tell Pace that they experienced harassment and stalking from the perpetrators responsible for their child’s abuse, which prevented them from seeking help from the police earlier.

However, there are legal powers in place to protect you if you are targeted in this way. Any of the following behaviour should be logged with times and dates and reported to the police:

  • Being physically followed, either on foot or in vehicles.
  • Being spied on, or having people loitering near your property.
  • Being repeatedly contacted by somebody, including through friends, family, the workplace or over social media.

If you have already given a statement to the police regarding the sexual exploitation of a child, then acts of harassment or stalking are automatically considered to be intimidation. This puts you under special protection and carries severe penalties.

The gang knew we had spoken to the police and made it known to our family that they were not happy. There were more cars parked outside our house for days on end; I was followed and ‘bumped into’ by strange men.
– Parent

Parents also need to be mindful that the law on harassment applies to everybody and that they themselves may be accused of harassment by the perpetrator(s). This has happened on numerous occasions when parents have chosen to follow a suspected perpetrator’s car in order to track the whereabouts of their child.

We began following the perpetrator’s car whenever our daughter was inside. Unbelievably, we then received a warning from the police, after they received a complaint from his solicitor. It seemed to us that the law was more in his favour than ours.
– Parent