Stalking cases on the rise in Queensland
THERE has been a dramatic increase in the number of people being sentenced in Queensland courts on charges of stalking.
Research released yesterday by the Queensland Sentencing Advisory Council revealed the number of stalking cases in the state had risen by almost 50 per cent since 2005, increasing from 113 cases in 2005-06 to 169 cases in 2018-19.
According to crime statistics provided by the Queensland Police Service, there have been 94 stalking offences in Rockhampton from January 2005 to April 2020.
But the number of stalking cases per year has remained about the same, with five cases in 2005-06 and six in 2019-20.
Queensland Sentencing Advisory Council chairman John Robertson said the council’s Sentencing Spotlight on Stalking report examined sentencing outcomes data from between July 2005 and June 2019, with a total of 1698 cases where stalking was the most serious offence heard in the sentencing.
“Stalking is a very serious crime – it’s that unwanted attention that frightens someone, causes them mental harm, makes them believe they or their property are in danger, or prevents them from going freely about their daily life,” Mr Robertson said.
“In Queensland, the maximum penalty for stalking is five years’ imprisonment, but if there are aggravating circumstances, like using or intentionally threatening violence, that can increase to seven.”
The council’s report showed the most common penalty for stalking was imprisonment, with 31 per cent of offenders receiving an unsuspended sentence, and the average sentence being almost one-and-a-half years in jail. The youngest person in the state sentenced for stalking was 13 years old and the oldest 81.
“The average stalking offender is a male in his 30s,” he said.
Over the period examined, females were responsible for slightly more than 14 per cent of the stalking offences.