News Release Archive

More public awareness, increased victim support, more timely
court response and improved programming for offenders are keys to
effectively dealing with stalking, a provincial workshop
concluded yesterday.

The workshop, held in Halifax, was jointly sponsored by the Nova
Scotia Advisory Council on the Status of Women and the Department
of Justice.

"Stalking is criminal harassment and it's a very serious issue
particularly for women," said Patricia Doyle-Bedwell, chair of
the advisory council. "We need to focus on all aspects of this
phenomenon from education and prevention to a fast and effective
response by police and courts."

In 1996-97 there were a total of 282 criminal harassment charges
in Nova Scotia. Of these, 91 per cent were laid against men and
only 9 per cent against women. In the 50 convictions attained,
the most frequent penalty applied was probation (56 per cent).
The offender was jailed 35 per cent of the time and the remaining
nine per cent of convictions resulted in community service and/or
restitution penalties.

The workshop covered the typical stalker profile, victim impact,
stalking patterns, and the criminal justice response to stalking.

"With the current criminal harassment legislation now four years
old, we felt it was time to get all the players back together,
review the issue, share information, increase our collective
understanding and discuss possible improvements to the criminal
justice response," said Joanne Marriott-Thorne, acting director
of Victim Services, Department of Justice.

The Advisory Council on the Status of Women and the Department of
Justice will work with other government and community groups to
develop a broad-based public education/communications plan aimed
at tackling criminal harassment.


Contact: Patricia Doyle-Bedwell
         Advisory Council on the Status of Women

         Joanne Marriott-Thorne
         Department of Justice

jlw                      July 9, 1997      1:30 p.m.