An Irish News journalist has revealed that she was harassed by her former partner for four years.
Speaking to BBC Radio Foyle, Allison Morris called for stalking legislation to be extended to Northern Ireland.
It comes days after Fernando Murphy, of Balholm Drive, in Belfast, was jailed for 10 offences, including harassment and breaching a restraining order.
“I was full of anxiety, my hair was falling out with stress,” the security correspondent said about her ordeal.
Murphy, 42, was handed a 14-month sentence at Belfast Magistrates’ Court last Thursday. He will spend half his sentence in prison and the other half on licence.
During four years of abuse, Ms Morris was subjected to “humiliating” behaviour, including Murphy coming to the Irish News and “shouting and screaming”.
It was when the harassment began to impact her family that the journalist decided to act.
“I sort of broke after that,” she said.
“I could take the abuse when it was me but when it was my daughter it was different.
“He knew that saying horrible, sexual, things about me wasn’t getting a reaction so he moved on to my family, and the targets became my children and my father, who is very ill, and my work.”
‘A big step’
Ms Morris said going to the police was “a big step”.
“As someone who is a crime and security correspondent, I deal with the police on a professional basis quite regularly, often quite critically and I hold them to account in a lot of cases, and I just really didn’t feel comfortable,” she said.
“I didn’t want people to think that I was weak, I didn’t want, in a very Belfast way, for people to know my business.”
Northern Ireland is the only region of UK or Ireland without stalking legislation and Ms Morris says she hopes that sharing her experience will change things.
“It made me angry because I was struggling to navigate it and through my work, I know the legal system.
“I thought ‘what must this be like for someone who doesn’t have this knowledge or support or wouldn’t know where to go to complain or appeal or to push things along?’ It’s such an emotionally destroying process that is desperately in need of change.”
Writing on Twitter on Monday afternoon, PSNI Chief Constable Simon Byrne said it was “brave and courageous” for Ms Morris to “make her terrible experience public”.
The PSNI currently deals with stalking under the Protection from Harassment Order (NI) 1997.
The Department of Justice held a public consultation last year on the creation of a specific stalking offence.
Its report on the findings said that the majority of respondents strongly supported the introduction of stalking legislation.
The department said it was “determined to do everything it can to protect victims and to stop perpetrators at the earliest opportunity”.
Justice Minister Naomi Long said she was “acutely aware of the distress that stalking behaviour can cause”.
She added that bringing forward legislation that offers the best protection for victims was a priority.
With many thanks to: BBC NewsNI for the original story
Follow these links to find out more: http://Judge refuses bid to overturn dissident republican Murphy’s alcohol ban