Campaigners have said her comments are “dangerous” and “perpetuate the myth that stalking is harmless”.
Kendal, who is best known for her role as Barbara Good in the BBC sitcom The Good Life from from 1975 to 1978, went on to say that “there are limits beyond which it’s frightening and terrible”.
The 72-year-old continued: “You don’t want to be shot and you don’t want to be dragged into the bushes.”
The Integrated Anti-Stalking Unit, a collaborative service between Cheshire Police and the NHS, tweeted her quote and added: “Apparently she deems the gravity threshold at “being shot” or “dragged into bushes”..... bit late then eh?”
Rachel Horman, chair of national stalking advocacy service, Paladin, told The Independent: “I think that her comments are ill-informed and quite frankly dangerous. Stalking is a very high risk crime and unfortunately can culminate in rape or murder. The psychological impact on victims of being stalked is horrendous with effects such as PTSD that often last for years.
“Kendal’s comments perpetuate the myth that stalking is harmless and colludes with stalkers by implying that victims are ‘asking for it’ by being well-known.”
She added that promoting such views may put victims off reporting stalking, which could have “tragic consequences”.
The actor opened up about being a victim of stalking herself, but said that: “One of them was quite a sweet guy. Perhaps he was just lonely.”
The comments follow two high-profile stalking cases last year. Christine Lampard, of Loose Women fame, saw her stalker sentenced to nine months in prison suspended for two years. The courts also imprisoned the man found to have stalked Newsnight presenter Emily Maitlis.
Police commissioner Cressida Dick has suggested in the past that the Metropolitan Police may not have given stalking “as much focus as we could”, and last year set up a Stalking Threat Assessment Centre (Stac) to deal with these cases.
At the time, Detective Inspector Lee Barnard who was set to lead the unit said that: “Some reports suggest that stalking is as widespread as domestic abuse so if that is the scale of it, we are talking about potentially thousands [of cases] that are unrecorded.”
Last year the Sentencing Council also handed judges and magistrates the first comprehensive guidance on punishing breaches of measures aiming at protecting victims, including restraining orders and sexual harm prevention orders (SHPOs), which campaigners hoped mean more stalkers and sex offenders would be jailed.
Kendal’s comments were part of a broader interview published in The Observer.
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