No prosecution following half of all stalking complaints

Figures from Belgium's public prosecutors' offices reveal that over half of all complaints about stalking did not lead to any prosecutions and ended up in the archives of the judicial system. In all there were 18,000 complaints in 2016. That works out at 48 a day. Over 9,000 complaints led to no prosecution.

The number of complaints about stalking has been falling for years. In 2012 there were a record 22,000 complaints. The most recent figures speak of 17,600 complaints.

Anne Groenen, who is researching this issue at Hogeschool UC Leuven Limburg: "Subpoenaing 52% of cases isn't really a lot. A couple of years ago the figure was a lot higher: around 70%."

The researcher doesn't believe police and prosecutors are being too lax. Anne Groenen: "We've seen the number of subpoenas fall drastically. That means police and prosecutors are taking the mater seriously and as a priority. Research shows that victims above all want an end to the advances so that they can pick up the thread again. We often notice that when the police question a stalker his behaviour stops. A conviction isn't necessary."

Often no action is taken because there's a lack of evidence. This was the case in around a third of the dossiers in 2016. Many victims also drop their complaint.

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