I am eternally grateful to my MP, John Redwood, for having raised the legal issues surrounding my experience at the hands of a serial groomer. Today, he forwarded me the response he received from the Rt Honourable David Gauke MP, Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice.
To reiterate the background, the man who duped me claimed to the police that I had harassed him. I received a letter from the police – a PIN (Police Information Notice) – saying (summarised) they’d had a report of harassment and to pack it in. I was not allowed to know what I was supposed to have done. At no stage had I ever been contacted to say ‘please stop’ xyz behaviour.
It was clear from the PIN that they were taking things no further. “After careful consideration and consultation with the victim it has been decided that no formal action will be taken against you in the matter on this occasion.”
So far, so good, nothing to worry about, let’s all move on? Unfortunately no. I now have a police record. Not a criminal one, a police one. This means that if I am ever accused of anything again this can be used as evidence, and – more importantly – it could be revealed on any future enhanced DBS check. I have no right to defend myself, respond, or even see what he presented. And since he has been known to fake communications, I feel very aggrieved. (He has used this tactic on previous victims.)
As I’ve been looking at cases of grooming/catfishing, I’ve become increasingly aware of the way perpetrators present themselves as victims using this legislation. So to read the following in a letter from the Ministry of Justice was heartening:
There has already been a a report, July 2017, suggesting that PINs should no longer be used (in the context of responses to stalking and harassment). The government is considering the report’s findings and will be taken into account by the College of Policing when they update advice on PINS.
It gives us an obvious chance to influence what happens from here and allow grooming victims’ voices to be heard.
I will imminently post up some template letters and appropriate addresses so that anyone who wishes to support this part of the campaign can do so easily. (Just having them checked by a professional lobbyist.)
This has to be good news – one less tool to be used against whistle blowers!
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