Claire Waxman, campaigner who fights for stalking victims, responds to Commons vote

The tight-knit nature of the Jewish community can mean that is doubly hard for Jewish women to get away from stalkers


Jewish women find it harder to evade stalkers than victims in the wider community, according to campaigner Claire Waxman. 

Ms Waxman, who herself was stalked by a Jewish man for a decade, said the tight-knit nature of the Jewish community meant “it is very difficult for the victim to feel disentangled from their perpetrator.

She added: “They often have to see them or hear about them through other people. I had that on my own case. To have that separation can be difficult.”

Ms Waxman founded the campaign group Voice 4 Victims following her own ordeal. She was speaking this week after the House of Commons rejected an amendment she helped to draft to strengthen the rights of crime victims.

On Tuesday, 298 MPs voted against changes to the Policing and Crime Bill.

Ms Waxman said the government had reneged on a commitment in its 2015 manifesto to back a “Victims’ Law”.

She said: “Theresa May has showed her government do not understand how the current system is failing victims. They do not seem to care.

“She gave a speech this week about wanting to represent people in society who have not felt listened to before, but the decision to reject the ‘Victims’ Law’ shows the exact opposite. It is a sad day.”

The mother-of-two, from Mill Hill, north-west London, suffered years of harassment at the hands of her stalker. He was convicted of three separate offences and jailed in 2015.

Since she set up her charity, Ms Waxman has heard from a number of Jewish victims. The community needs to understand the damage stalking can do, she said.

“I think the victim’s safety must take priority and if they are at the same shul as their stalker, for example, then I would suggest the synagogue must ask that the offending member goes somewhere else.

“You have to look at what the community can do to protect the victim and understand what they go through, what they face and just how difficult it is.” The campaigner worked with Sir Keir Starmer, the former Director of Public Prosecutions and now a Labour MP, to draw up the legislation proposed as part of the Bill.

The provision would have made the current Victims’ Code legally binding, ensuring victims are informed of court hearings and about when perpetrators are jailed and they are released.

Ms Waxman said: “At the moment we have a Victims’ Code which is not statutory.

“Agencies can opt in or opt out, and they tend not to adhere to it.

“We recommend victims are kept up to date and have access to justice and a proper complaints procedures, because at the moment it is very difficult to navigate.”

The harassment Ms Waxman suffered included being taken to court by her own stalker.

She said: “I thought it might have just been me who had a really bad experience with the justice system.

“But I have heard from hundreds and hundreds of people who are being failed, many in similar ways to how I was, but many in other ways too.

“We recently heard from a victim of a sexual assault and attempted rape. The offence was carried out by a stranger and the police revealed her identity to the offender. He hadn’t known her.

“That flagged to us the danger for the victim. We looked into it and found there is nothing in procedures or legislation to define what you can or can’t do.”

Since speaking out about her own ordeal she said support from the community had been patchy, although she stressed that the support from her own rabbi in Mill Hill had been “fantastic”.

She said: “At the time when I came out and was talking about my case people didn’t understand stalking and they didn’t understand the emotional impact.

“Now things are changing and you hear a lot more about it in the press. We are trying to change the perception.”


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