VIC­TIM BIDS TO RE­FORM LAW

Claire Wax­man was stalked for 10 years. Her bill to help those af­fected by crime could be­come law

The Jewish Chronicle - - FRONT PAGE - BY MAR­CUS DYSCH

A MOTHER of two is help­ing to draft a new law in an at­tempt to end the “lot­tery” that dic­tates how vic­tims of crime are treated by po­lice, courts and prose­cu­tors.

Claire Wax­man said she felt forced to act on be­half of those who have been af­fected by crim­i­nal ac­tiv­ity af­ter she suf­fered a decade of ha­rass­ment at the hands of a stalker.

The Vic­tims of Crime Bill was in­tro­duced in the House of Com­mons on Tues­day by former Di­rec­tor of Pub­lic Pros­e­cu­tions Sir Keir Starmer, now Labour MP for Hol­born and St Pan­cras.

Ms Wax­man hopes its pro­pos­als — which in­clude in­creased ac­cess to com­pen­sa­tion — will be quickly adopted by the gov­ern­ment. “It’s still a long jour­ney,” she said, “but we are push­ing at an open door.”

El­liot Fogel has been jailed re­peat­edly for stalk­ing Ms Wax­man and her fam­ily. The pair had first met as Jewish stu­dents at St Al­bans Col­lege in 1991. Af­ter com­plet­ing their stud­ies there was no con­tact be­tween them un­til Fogel sent Ms Wax­man flow­ers in 2003. He then be­gan a cam­paign of ha­rass­ment that lasted 10 years.

Fogel was jailed again in April, for three years and six months, for breach­ing a life­time re­strain­ing or­der.

Ms Wax­man founded the cam­paign group Voice 4 Vic­tims af­ter her or­deal, and said her ex­pe­ri­ence of the crim­i­nal jus­tice sys­tem meant she was ide­ally placed to lead the ini­tia­tive.

She said: “I’ve had the ex­pe­ri­ence of six pros­e­cu­tions and that’s given me a greater un­der­stand­ing of what vic­tims are get­ting when they come into the sys­tem. It re­ally de­pends on who you get. It’s a lot­tery. The type of po­lice of­fi­cer who takes your com­plaint and how well they are trained — that could be a good ex­pe­ri­ence or a bad one.”

Ms Wax­man, from north­west Lon­don, wants the new leg­is­la­tion to make it eas­ier for vic­tims to re­port crimes and pro­vide al­ter na­tives that could help them avoid go­ing to a po­lice sta­tion.

She said: “My idea is to bring in a case com­pan­ion. It’s so dif­fi­cult to nav­i­gate the sys­tem; there are so many loop­holes and gaps, you can eas­ily get lost. There are de­lays. It’s not cost-ef­fec­tive.

“A case com­pan­ion could tell the vic­tim what to ex­pect and help them along the way. It’s a daunt­ing and trau­matic ex­pe­ri­ence. You can be trau­ma­tised by not hav­ing that sup­port.

“We want to hold th­ese agen­cies to ac­count. The way vic­tims are treated can of­ten cause more harm than the orig­i­nal abuse. Peo­ple do not want to re­port crime be­cause they have heard how bad it is when they go to court.”

The bill, which has cross-party sup­port, will be dis­cussed in the Com­mons again on De­cem­ber 4.

‘Go­ing to the po­lice is a lot­tery. It all de­pends on the type of of­fi­cer you get’

BBC VIDEO VIA YOUTUBE

Claire Wax­man

Stalker El­liot Fogel

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