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Stalker Typologies: Implications for Law Enforcement



This chapter contains section titled:
Boon, J.C.W. and Sheridan, L. (2001). Stalker typologies: A law enforcement perspective. Journal of
Threat Assessment, 1, 75-97.
Julian CW Boon and Lorraine Sheridan*
University of Leicester
United Kingdom
*Correspondence should be addressed to Lorraine Sheridan at: Centre for Applied
Psychology – Forensic Section, University of Leicester, 6 University Road, Leicester LE1
7RB, United Kingdom.
Telephone: +44 116 252 2460
Fax: +44 116 252 3994
Boon, J.C.W. and Sheridan, L. (2001). Stalker typologies: A law enforcement perspective. Journal of
Threat Assessment, 1, 75-97.
Stalker typologies: A law enforcement perspective
In the last ten years diverse attempts have been made to produce classificatory systems of
stalkers - each of which have had differing objectives. The classificatory system of
stalking advanced in this study was developed with the specific objective of serving the
needs of law enforcement professionals working with stalking cases. Based on a large
number of documented, real-life cases (n=124), the system was designed to identify and
partition offenders according to their motivational orientations. Specifically, four principal
classifications were identified: (i) ex-partner harassment/stalking, (ii) infatuation
harassment, (iii) delusional fixation stalking, and (iv) sadistic stalking. Correspondent
implications for the assessment of threat were developed and preliminary
recommendations for good case management practice have been advanced. Inter-rater
reliability among forensic and non-forensic psychologists in the application of the system
was high (pairwise minimum >92.%) supporting the view that the system can be readily
assimilated and consistently applied by professionals working in the field.
Boon, J.C.W. and Sheridan, L. (2001). Stalker typologies: A law enforcement perspective. Journal of
Threat Assessment, 1, 75-97.
The global prominence of ‘stalking’ as a public menace has risen markedly over the past
decade. The activities of stalkers have captured the interest of the media, the general
public and researchers alike. The inherent need of humans to classify (Humphrey, 1984)
and for society to attempt to control aberrant behaviour has resulted in the creation of a
number of diverse stalker classification systems. These systems have been designed for
use in different fields and as such vary in their aims and scope. This paper sets forth a new
typology of stalkers which is aimed at law enforcement and which has direct implications
for the management of a heterogeneous population of offenders. Before moving on to
present this new typology, some of the more prominent stalker classification systems that
have been offered to date are outlined below.
Dietz (Dietz, Matthews, Martell et al., 1991a; Dietz, Matthews, Van Duyne et al., 1991b)
examined cases of stalkers who had targeted celebrities and other public figures, with
emphasis on identifying the level of attachment the stalker had for the victim. The crucial
difference between stalkers and ‘normal persons’, according to Dietz, is that normal
persons feel attached to celebrities or officials due to feelings of obligation or attraction.
Stalkers differ in that their activities are motivated by a wish to become closer to, or be
noticed by, their target.
In contrast, Geberth (1992) established a typology of stalkers based solely on their mental
states, labelling his stalker ‘types’ as psychopathic personality stalkers, and psychotic
personality stalkers. The former is described as being a dominant ex-partner who has lost
control of the victim and intends violence toward them, whilst the psychotic personality
stalker is said to be a delusional individual who has become obsessed with an unobtainable
object such as a film star. Such people, the typology holds, are convinced that the
Boon, J.C.W. and Sheridan, L. (2001). Stalker typologies: A law enforcement perspective. Journal of
Threat Assessment, 1, 75-97.
individual returns their intensely affectionate feelings, and they mount a campaign of
harassment to make the victim aware of their existence. This mental state is known widely
as ‘erotomania’, a delusional disorder in which the sufferer believes that the target of
attention - generally a person of higher social and economic status - bears a genuine
reciprocal love for them (American Psychiatric Association, 1994).
Some of the existing literature was reviewed by Holmes (1993), who suggested there were
six different types of stalkers based on the nature of the victim. These comprised:
celebrity, lust, hit, love-scorned, political and domestic stalkers. These labels are largely
self-explanatory. For instance, the celebrity stalker is described as someone who harasses
only those prominent in the entertainment field, while the domestic stalker is described as
being a former partner of the target. The lust stalker was articulated by Holmes as being
motivated by sex, stalking one victim after another in a serial fashion. The hit stalker
differs from the others in this classification, in that these individuals are hired by a third
party to murder a specific target for profit, stalking their victims first to try and establish
their habits.
A further typology of stalking was advanced by McAnaney, Curliss and Abeyta-Price
(1993), again based on a review of the psychological, psychiatric and forensic literature.
This four-fold classification comprised: erotomanic, borderline erotomanic, former
intimate and sociopathic stalkers. In this system, sociopathic stalkers were said to be
otherwise known as serial murderers and serial rapists who develop a criteria of an “ideal
victim”. Three of these four stalker types were said to have a delusional mental illness or
be personality disordered.
Boon, J.C.W. and Sheridan, L. (2001). Stalker typologies: A law enforcement perspective. Journal of
Threat Assessment, 1, 75-97.
Zona, Sharma and Lane (1993) created a dominant classification system of stalkers which
is still employed by many US police forces. These researchers classified 74 cases into
three categories: erotomanic, love obsessional, and simple obsessional. Under this system,
love obsessionals are said to be similar to erotomanics in many ways, but with the
distinction that love obsessionals know their victims only through the media. In the case
of simple obsessionals, a prior relationship is said to have existed between stalker and
victim, and the stalking is initiated following the end of a relationship, or where the stalker
perceives that s/he has been mistreated.
Kienlen, Birmingham, Solberg, O’Regan and Meloy (1997) divided stalkers into two
groups according to whether they were or were not judged to be psychotic. Unlike
Geberth, the authors did not assume that all stalkers were mentally ill or personality
disordered. Finally, Mullen, Pathé and Purcell (2000) have recently produced a detailed
classification of five stalker types: rejected, intimacy seeking, resentful, predatory and
incompetent. Their multi-axial approach incorporates the context for the stalking and
stalker motivations, prior stalker-victim relationship, and the stalker’s psychiatric status.
Although the various approaches to classifying stalkers and their victims have much to
offer to both researchers and practitioners, many have shortfalls and are incomplete.
Some are too simple, given that the population is heterogeneous and probably co-morbid
for a range of mental disorders. Others are difficult to decipher and many stalkers may fall
either between two categories or may fit into more than one. A more frustrating problem
is that most typologies fail to offer accessible implications for case management. It is
important to remember however, that any classification of stalkers will likely vary in
accordance with the goals of the group who develop it (Mullen, Pathé and Purcell, 2000).
Mullen et al. further suggest that the most valuable stalker taxonomy is the one that best
Boon, J.C.W. and Sheridan, L. (2001). Stalker typologies: A law enforcement perspective. Journal of
Threat Assessment, 1, 75-97.
serves the needs of the user group. This is a valid argument so long as typologies have
been tested and are based on adequate samples. Whilst many of the classifications
outlined above have their origins in the fields of mental health, the system that is advanced
in this paper is geared to being of greatest use to those in the law enforcement professions.
That is, those who require guidance as to understanding patterns in offenders’ motivation
and articulating the contingent ramifications for good practice in case management.
The methodology employed consisted of three distinct stages, and these are detailed
Stage one - 124 Stalking cases
One of the authors is an Association of Chief Police Officers - UK (ACPO) accredited
psychological profiler with experience of working with the Police on relatively minor
stalking cases through to those involving homicide. The second author has been
researching stalking and has conducted in depth interviews with victims for a period in
excess of four years. The project had access to a database of 124 stalking cases, each of
which had been detailed on purpose designed research instruments. These pro formas
explored a number of diverse facets of stalking, which covered detail relating to:
demographic data for the victim and the stalker,
full details of the stalking: how it began; qualitative changes and constants over time,
how the stalking ended (if applicable),
perceived exacerbating and alleviating factors,
the primary emotions experienced by victims and how these evolved over time,
Boon, J.C.W. and Sheridan, L. (2001). Stalker typologies: A law enforcement perspective. Journal of
Threat Assessment, 1, 75-97.
the reactions of significant others in the victim’ life,
the response of the professional agencies involved.
The data were originally collected from members of two prominent UK self-help groups
which had been set up to aid victims and ex-victims of stalking.
Stage two - Stalker taxonomy
(i) initial phase
Each of the authors reviewed the entire 124 case data set with a view to distilling a
classificatory system which they independently judged to be the most effective in
articulating the cases from a law enforcement perspective. In adapting their decision-
making to this orientation it was necessary to advance common, fundamental assessment
criteria which would serve the needs of such an objective. In this regard two primary
imperatives were identified. First, that the system should be developed with a view to
being geared to the investigating needs of law enforcement agencies. Specifically, the
system should be aimed at being: (i) jargon-free and comprehensible for officers; (ii)
readily applicable to cases as they emerge and unfold in the field; and (iii), it should be
capable of generating specific stratagem for good practice in the management of differing
cases. Second, while it should be as simple and economical an account of the data-set as
possible, the typology should retain sufficient accuracy and goodness-of-fit to reality to be
of operational utility.
In addition to these judgmental heuristics, two further guiding principles were adopted for
use by the authors when identifying their respective systems. First, that apriori there
should be no pre-set limit to the numbers of categories which were to be deemed desirable
Boon, J.C.W. and Sheridan, L. (2001). Stalker typologies: A law enforcement perspective. Journal of
Threat Assessment, 1, 75-97.
to meet the above objectives. That is to say in principle the raters could, in extremis
specify either one category ‘stalking’ containing 124 cases, or alternatively, define all 124
cases as being functionally distinct form of stalking. Second, there was no governance as
to the relevant proportions of the data to which any category was constrained - it being
accepted that some forms of stalking and harassment may be markedly more common than
(ii) secondary phase
Each reviewer having conducted their exploration of the data from the above orientation
then advanced their independently derived pilot classification system. This yielded two
sets of categories with a strong degree of overlap - please see results below. Thereafter
the reviewers discussed their respective terminology and agreed a common,
nomenclature for the purpose of stage three of the analysis. In discussing the most
appropriate way to refine the category terms to be adopted for stage three, two particular
considerations took precedence. First, the terms adopted were to be readily
understandable to a non-psychology/psychiatry audience. Second, in the effort to achieve
ready comprehensibility, nothing should compromise the understanding of any particular
case in terms of offender motivation and the contingent implications for case management.
The two researchers thereafter agreed a set of common characteristics for each of the four
typologies. In addition, they generated associated case management stratagem based on
the information contained in the victims reports. Specifically, this information related to
the nature of the underlying threat in any given typology, and the associated effective,
non-effective, and potentially exacerbating intervention strategies.
Stage 3 - Assessing the taxonomy
Boon, J.C.W. and Sheridan, L. (2001). Stalker typologies: A law enforcement perspective. Journal of
Threat Assessment, 1, 75-97.
This concluding phase of the analyses was aimed at testing the reliability of the emergent
system. In order to achieve this, the two authors together with two further psychologists
who did not have a forensic background, independently categorised each of the 124 cases
according to the system. Inter-rater concordance rates were then calculated.
1. Details of the 124 cases
Before presenting the stalker classification system, basic details of the 124 cases are
provided. These are included for two reasons. First, so that an overview of some of the
features of stalking in a UK sample can be presented. Secondly, it is necessary to provide
some of the material analysed by the authors to illustrate the nature of that which they
were working with in making their judgements when initially constructing their respective
Demographic characteristics of victims
The majority of the 124 victims (92.7%) were female. Victim age at the beginning of the
stalking ranged from 14 to 70, with a mean age of 33.10 (SD 11.26). All victims except
one described themselves as white in ethnic origin, and one as Asian. When their stalking
began, 48.3% (60) were employed in professional or clerical occupations. However, this
figure had fallen to 20.9% (26) at the time of filling in the questionnaires. Also, the
number of victims who were now unemployed or were working in unskilled or semi-
skilled jobs rose from 18.6% (23) to 51.6% (64).
Boon, J.C.W. and Sheridan, L. (2001). Stalker typologies: A law enforcement perspective. Journal of
Threat Assessment, 1, 75-97.
Demographic characteristics of stalkers
Just eight of the stalkers were female. In three cases the gender of the perpetrator was
unknown. Of the eight male victims, four were stalked by other males, and four by
females. Two of the remaining female stalkers targeted their former same-sex partners.
At the start of the harassment, the stalkers ranged in age from 11 to 73, with a mean age
of 36.30 years (SD 11.31). Thus, they tended to be slightly older than their victims. As
regards the ethnic origin of the stalkers, 93.5% (116) were described as white British or
Irish, four as Arabic, two as Asian, one as Afro-Caribbean, and one as Native American
Indian. The victims reported that when the stalking episode began, 25.8% of the stalkers
(32) were unemployed, and 15.3% (19) had semi-skilled occupations. Almost one third
(30.6%, or 38) were employed in clerical or professional fields. Three more were self-
employed, and in 14 cases the victim did not know the stalker’s occupation. Unlike the
occupations of the victims, those of the stalkers did not change significantly over time.
This was despite the fact 119 stalkers (96%) were reported to the police, and 51 had legal
action taken against them.
At the time of completing the questionnaires, 65.3% of the victims (81) were still being
harassed. Of those for whom their stalking had ended, the mean total length of
continuous harassment was 52.2 months (SD 73.2 months). The minimum reported
stalking episode was six months, and the maximum was 468 months. Where
stalking was still ongoing (43 cases), the mean recorded length of ongoing
harassment was somewhat longer (116.9 months, SD 104.5 months).
‘Serial stalking’
Over a third of victims (38.7%, or 48) claimed that their stalker had also targeted at least
one other person who was unconnected with themselves. Sixty-eight more were unsure.
Boon, J.C.W. and Sheridan, L. (2001). Stalker typologies: A law enforcement perspective. Journal of
Threat Assessment, 1, 75-97.
Just 12 of the 48 ‘serial stalkers’ had had a previous relationship with the victims, and all
these had previously stalked other ex-partners. Forty-four of the 48 were reported to
have stalked others prior to stalking victims from our sample, and three more were said to
have stalked others at the same time that they targeted our subjects. One of the three
female stalkers was said to have stalked others (males and females) before, during and
after the experience of the victim in this study.
The act of stalking may not always be a lone venture. In almost half of cases (39.5%, or
49) the stalker was reported to have enlisted the help of others during their harassment
campaign. In 31 cases, these assistants were friends of the stalker, in 7 cases they were
relatives, in two cases the stalker’s partner was said to be involved, and in a further 7
cases, individuals from two or more of these categories. In two cases, members of the
victims’ families were said to have assisted the stalker. Furthermore, 70.2% of stalkers
(87) were reported as having attempted to glean information about the victim from the
victim’s family, friends and workmates.
Victim-stalker prior relationship
In 17.7% of cases (22), there had been no prior relationship between victim and stalker.
In 46% of cases (57), the stalker was a former partner of the victim, and was an
acquaintance in 33.9% of cases (42). Of these 42 cases, the stalker was a workmate in 23
instances, a neighbour in 13, and a family friend in six. In three cases, the identity of the
stalker was unknown to the victim, and therefore their prior relationship could not be
Boon, J.C.W. and Sheridan, L. (2001). Stalker typologies: A law enforcement perspective. Journal of
Threat Assessment, 1, 75-97.
The changing behaviour of the stalker over time
As the stalking went on, the stalkers in this sample decreased the amount of time in which
they were proximal to the victim, but they also became more violent. Ninety victims
(72.6%) said that the stalking had changed over time (19 more said it had not). Of these,
82 said that the stalking had intensified, and just eight said it became less intense.
Effects on the victim
The victims were asked how the stalking made them feel. Almost a quarter (22.6%, or
28) said that they felt fearful, 16.1% (20) that they felt terrorised, 7.3% (9) described
angry feelings, 6.5% (8) said they felt intimidated, and 5.6% (7) said that they
predominately felt powerless. Smaller proportions of the victims said that they felt
imprisoned (5), upset (4), or that they experienced a complete loss of self-esteem (2).
Thirty nine however said that they experienced all of these emotions as a direct result of
being stalked.
Only 12 of the 124 victims said that they had not made any lifestyle changes as a result of
their stalking. Twenty-five (20.2%) described how they had changed their behaviour, for
example by altering their appearance or by frequenting different shops or entertainment
venues. Five said that they had had to move house, and four that they had been forced to
alter their telephone number. Twenty-seven however (21.8%), reported that they had
changed their behaviour and their telephone number. Almost 40% (49) said that they had
changed their behaviour, telephone number, and had been forced to relocate.
2. Initial classifications
Boon, J.C.W. and Sheridan, L. (2001). Stalker typologies: A law enforcement perspective. Journal of
Threat Assessment, 1, 75-97.
At the second stage of the method (phase i), the authors produced provisional stalker
categorisations from the 124 cases. These emerged as follows (in order of perceived
prevalence, most prevalent listed first):
Boon, J.C.W. and Sheridan, L. (2001). Stalker typologies: A law enforcement perspective. Journal of
Threat Assessment, 1, 75-97.
Author 1 Author 2
Ex-intimate stalking The ex-partner harasser/stalker
Infatuation harassment The romantic attachment stalker
Delusional fixation stalking The psychotic stalker
Sadistic stalking The psychopathic stalker
Emergent nomenclature
At phase (ii), following discussion, the nomenclature of the four main typologies was
agreed as follows:
Ex-partner harassment/stalking
Infatuation harassment
Delusional fixation stalking
Sadistic stalking.
Reliability assessment
The one hundred and twenty four sample stalking cases were by assessed by two further
independent raters employing the typologies. Table 1 shows that there were high levels of
concordance among the raters, suggesting that the inherent reliability of the system and
inter-rater consistency was also high.
- Table 1 about here -
Boon, J.C.W. and Sheridan, L. (2001). Stalker typologies: A law enforcement perspective. Journal of
Threat Assessment, 1, 75-97.
3. The typologies
On the basis of the 124 cases outlined above, the authors piloted a stalker classification
system. There are four major stalker typologies, two of which comprise two further sub-
sections. The system as developed with a view toward facilitating law enforcement and
ergo, characteristics of each category are first presented, followed by clear and specific
suggestions for case management. The degree to which each category was represented in
the sample of 124 cases is shown in parentheses following their respective titles, these
having been calculated on the basis of the mean average ratings of the raters in phase 3 of
the analysis.
Typology 1: Ex-partner harassment/stalking (50%)
bitterness/hate = linked to relationship’s history (past orientation)
hot-headed anger/hostility (cf. sadist’s cold need for control)
prior relationship involving domestic violence which turns to more public violence and
verbal abuse
overt threats, particularly where placed in conjunction with recrimination and reference
to perceived issues of contention
recruitment of friends and family to perpetuate a campaign of hate
motivating issues relate to custody/property/finance (associated issues of
new relationships engender jealousy and aggressive behaviour
3rd party abuse (verbal and physical), e.g. family members of and known supporters of
the victim
partisanship on both sides
nature of harassment characterised by: high levels of physical violence, high levels of
verbal threat, property damage
triggers for harassment both spontaneous (e.g. following a chance encounter) and pre-
meditated (e.g. sitting in a car outside the victim’s home)
activity tending towards being anger driven and impulsivity with corresponding lack of
concern about coming to Police attention
Boon, J.C.W. and Sheridan, L. (2001). Stalker typologies: A law enforcement perspective. Journal of
Threat Assessment, 1, 75-97.
perpetrator age emerged as diverse and reflective of time of onset of strife in
Case management implications
high risk of violence
high risk of property damage
generalised anger, but the results show a need to take seriously any specific threats
any unnecessary retaliation - financial, legal, physical or verbal - should be curbed to an
absolute minimum
victim should avoid wherever possible frequenting same venues as offender
in extremis consider re-location with physical distance being even more important than
Typology 2: Infatuation harassment (18.5%)
target is ‘beloved’ rather than ‘victim’
beloved is all pervasive in thoughts
world and events are interpreted in relation to beloved
beloved is focus of fantasy
focus of fantasy romantic and positive
intense yearning (cf. anger)
particular emphasis on hope of what might be (future orientation)
beloved sought out with non-malicious ruses e.g. billet-doux under windscreen wiper,
hanging around and pretending it’s a chance encounter, quizzing friends and associates
regarding any aspects of the beloved
low levels of danger
harassment not characterised by threats, macabre gifts and negative intervention (cf.
sinister and intrusion of sadist below)
perpetrator age typically teenage or mid-life
Boon, J.C.W. and Sheridan, L. (2001). Stalker typologies: A law enforcement perspective. Journal of
Threat Assessment, 1, 75-97.
Case management implications
Young Love
Elevation of the cognitive perspective
- careful and thorough explanation regarding the law and how upsetting the whole thing is
to the victim
- adoption of symPathétic stance in explaining how the relationship has been misconstrued
Midlife love
Again cognitive elevation but with:
- possible exploration of placing physical distance between parties e.g. a work transfer
- also address possible difficulties resulting from ‘storge’ or discord in existing relationship
through counselling
Typology 3: Delusional fixation stalking (15.3%)
Where dangerous
stalker tends to be incoherent yet victim fixated (orientation the present)
victim tends to be at high risk of physical violence and sexual assault
perpetrator likely to have come to the notice of police and mental health e.g. borderline
personality disorder, episodic schizophrenia
perpetrator likely to have a history of sexual problems and offences, including stalking
activity is characterised by the incessant bombarding with telephone calls, letters, visits
to workplace
behavioural patterns lacking in coherence, appearing in diverse places, at irregular times
content of material sent by and conversation of perpetrator => unsubtle,
sexual/obscene, and disjointed semantically
stalkers tend to couch their statements of love in terms of sexual intent towards victim
(cf. romantic stance of infatuated harasser)
stalkers held belief in relationship even though there has been no prior conversation
victims are male or female and tend to have some form of elevated/noteworthy status:
- professionals (e.g. GPs, University lecturers)
- celebrities (ibid.)
- unfamous but local and attractive figures
Case management implications
Boon, J.C.W. and Sheridan, L. (2001). Stalker typologies: A law enforcement perspective. Journal of
Threat Assessment, 1, 75-97.
not responsive to reason or rejection
refer to a forensic psychiatrist for assessment (although likely been assessed already)
Where less dangerous
stalkers hold the delusional conviction that there is an extant, idealised relationship
(present and future orientation)
stalker scarcely knows victim
activity not characterised by threats - just the stated belief that the victim wants to be
with him (cf. sadistic stalkers’ similar statements but with sinister twists such as “in
heaven” or simply as a means of accentuating the victim’s feelings of despair that
nothing works)
stalker not amenable to reason from the victim (cf. (i) infatuation harassment where
clarity can attenuate the behaviour and (ii) sadistic stalking where the perpetrator
consciously exploits non-response to victims’ appeals as a means of demonstrating
stalker capable of a complete construction of a fantasy of an extant, reciprocated
relationship as though victim was in accord and consensual
in the event of an eventual submerged perception that relationship is not fitting with the
perpetrator’s deluded perception - with rationalisation that it is someone else’s fault
(e.g. victim’s husband putting demons in her head)
in the event of an individual being identified as thwarting the relationship, there is
contingent element of danger - particularly where that individual is perceived by the
stalker as being dangerous to victim
victims tended to be female professionals
Case management implications
victim should seek legal remedy
victim should be advised not to respond as far as possible
if absolutely necessary to respond to the offender, the victims should be advised to do
so with a clear negation of the situation and non-angry requests for him to go away
again if absolutely necessary to respond to the offender, the victim should never argue
and keep the encounter down to a minimum
legal agencies should be aware that the stalker is not responsive to reason or rejection
Boon, J.C.W. and Sheridan, L. (2001). Stalker typologies: A law enforcement perspective. Journal of
Threat Assessment, 1, 75-97.
Typology 4: Sadistic stalking (12.9%)
victim is an obsessive target of the offender, and who’s life is seen as quarry and prey
(incremental orientation)
victim selection criteria is primarily rooted in the victim being:
(i) someone worthy of spoiling, i.e. someone who is perceived by the stalker at the
commencement as being:
- happy
- ‘good’
- stable
- content
and (ii) lacking in the victim’s perception any just rationale as to why she was targeted
initial low level acquaintance
apparently benign initially but unlike infatuation harassment the means of intervention
tend to have negative orientation designed to disconcert, unnerve, and ergo take power
away from the victim
- notes left in victim’s locked car in order to unsettle target (cf. billet-doux of infatuated
- subtle evidence being left of having been in contact with the victim’s personal items e.g.
rifled underwear drawer, re-ordering/removal of private papers, cigarette ends left in
ash trays, toilet having been used etc.
- ‘helping’ mend victims car that stalker had previously disabled
thereafter progressive escalation of control over all aspects (i.e. social, historical,
professional, financial, physical) of the victim’s life
offender gratification is rooted in the desire to extract evidence of the victim’s
powerlessness with inverse implications for his power => sadism
additional implication => self-perpetuating in desire to hone down relentlessly on
individual victim(s)
emotional coldness, deliberateness and psychopathy (cf. the heated nature of ex-partner
tended to have a history of stalking behaviour and the controlling of others
stalker tended to broaden out targets to family and friends in a bid to isolate the victim
and further enhance his control
communications tended to be a blend of loving and threatening (not hate) designed to
de-stabilise and confuse the victim
threats were either overt (“We’re going to die together”) or subtle (delivery of dead
stalker could be highly dangerous - in particular with psychological violence geared to
the controlling of the victim with fear, loss of privacy and the curtailment of her social
physical violence was also entirely possible - especially by means which undermine the
victim’s confidence in matters normally taken for granted e.g. disabling brake cables,
disarming safety equipment, cutting power off
Boon, J.C.W. and Sheridan, L. (2001). Stalker typologies: A law enforcement perspective. Journal of
Threat Assessment, 1, 75-97.
sexual content of communications was aimed primarily to intimidate through the
victim’s humiliation, disgust and general undermining of self-esteem
the older the offender, the more likely he would have enacted sadistic stalking before
and would not be likely to offend after 40 years of age if not engaged in such stalking
victim was likely to be re-visited after a seeming hiatus
Case management implications
should be taken very seriously
acknowledge from outset that the stalker activity will be very difficult to eradicate
acknowledge that there is no point whatsoever in appealing to the offender - indeed will
exacerbate the problem
never believe any assurances, alternative versions of events etc. which are given by the
however, record them for use in legal action later
the victim should be given as much understanding and support as can be made available
the victim should not be given false or unrealistic assurance or guarantees that s/he will
be protected
the victim should carefully consider relocation. Geographical emphasis being less on
distance per se, and more on where the offender is least able to find the victim
the police should have in mind that the sadistic stalker will be likely to:
(i) carefully construct and calculate their activity to simultaneously minimise the risk of
intervention by authorities while retaining maximum impact on victim,
(ii) be almost impervious to intervention since the overcoming of obstacles provides new
(iii) and potent means of demonstrating the victim’s powerlessness (ergo self-
perpetuating) and,
(iii) if jailed will continue both personally and vicariously with the use of a network.
An overview distillation of the above in terms the potential for this system to relate to the
needs of law enforcement professionals involved in stalking case management is provided
in Table 2.
- Table 2 about here -
Boon, J.C.W. and Sheridan, L. (2001). Stalker typologies: A law enforcement perspective. Journal of
Threat Assessment, 1, 75-97.
The methodology of this study has been designed to develop a classificatory system of
stalking which is oriented towards the needs of law enforcement agencies. A particular
objective was to provide a system which could aid the understanding of offender
behaviour and use that understanding to articulate strategies for good case management.
In noting this, it is important to be clear that it is not suggested that this classificatory
system is in any sense superior to the contemporary systems devised for differing
objectives. Instead it is suggested that in specifically focusing on the need to meet the
requirements of professionals dealing with emergent and ongoing stalking cases, the
classifications will correspondingly differ in content and form - reflecting their differing
operational objectives.
In assessing the utility of the framework for this purpose, three main aspects must be
considered. First the classification system’s reliability - that is the consistency with which
it can be applied across cases by different raters. Second the degree to which it is readily
comprehensible and relatively easy to apply. Third the system’s validity - that is, whether
the typologies accurately identify stalkers in terms of their differing motivational
perspectives and whether they articulate valid case management suggestions. In terms of
the reliability, the high concordance rates would seem to support the view that the system
is remarkably robust, in that raters strongly tended to agree which cases should be
grouped into which categories. Likewise the high concordance rates would support the
view that the system can be readily assimilated by professionals with differing law-
enforcement perspectives and be applied consistently to diverse cases.
In terms of assessing the validity of the system, the ultimate test will be how effectively it
can be deployed in case management under real-life conditions. Although preliminary at
this stage, early indications from professionals involved in training officers in identifying
Boon, J.C.W. and Sheridan, L. (2001). Stalker typologies: A law enforcement perspective. Journal of
Threat Assessment, 1, 75-97.
stalkers and handling cases has been encouraging. Additionally there are indications that
the system can be helpful across different legal systems - it having received positive
feedback from people working in both the US (W. Maxey, personal comunication, April
2000; K. Wells, personal communication, April 2000) and the UK (H. Brown, personal
communication, April 2000). In some ways perhaps it would be surprising if the system
did not have inherent validity for use as a law enforcement tool since its genesis is
fundamental to those concerns - namely offenders’ behaviour and victims’ experience.
The validity of the results may however be affected in terms of the representation of the
relative proportions of cases which emerged in each category. The victim sample on
which it is based was self-referring and therefore more likely to include more serious
instances of stalking. Victims of more minor stalking and harassment may be
correspondingly both less likely to report incidents, and, more likely to deal with the
situation themselves. Therefore the true proportion of, for example, sadistic stalking -
when taken in the context of stalking and harassment offenders taken in their entirety -
may be less than the 13% found in this study. However, in view of the law enforcement
objectives of the system, such a loading towards the more serious end of the behavioural
spectrum could be viewed as being appropriate. This is because it would more accurately
reflect the particular profile of cases which are most likely to confront the professionals
Before looking more closely at the implications for threat assessment it is worth stating in
overview terms the rationale for having a classificatory system to help law enforcement
agencies. In essence it should be able to help place order on and prioritise the large
diversity of potentially important details in any given case. However beyond that, it
should also be able to articulate the significance of case details in relation to the
motivational context of the offender. Two different cases may have superficial similarity
Boon, J.C.W. and Sheridan, L. (2001). Stalker typologies: A law enforcement perspective. Journal of
Threat Assessment, 1, 75-97.
in a wide variety of respects, yet have totally different implications for understanding the
potential threat to the victim. For example, an infatuation harassment ‘offender’ and a
sadistic stalker may both: send unwanted flowers, leave letters, follow their victim, glean
information from the victim’s friends and relatives, appear from nowhere etc. Yet in spite
of such seemingly apparent similarities - the motivational context dramatically transforms:
(i) the appropriate understanding of the psychology underpinning the behaviour, (ii) the
degree and nature of the threat to the victim, and (iii), the criteria for selecting and
adopting case management strategies.
In order to be concise, one example of how a particular behaviour can be interpreted
differently as a function of the typology of the offender will have to suffice. The data
show that it is very common for stalkers and/or harassers to send forms of written
communication. Variously the nature of the communication will be determined by the
nature of the stalker. For example if an ex-partner harassment/stalker sends a
communication it is likely to be highly volatile in tone and refer to property, possessions,
parental rights or past grievances. By contrast when an infatuated harasser writes it will
tend to be idealised and without threat. However if the case has been classified as being
that of a delusional-fixated stalker then the communication is likely to be incoherent,
sexual in content and part of a torrent of similar material. A sadistic stalker’s written
communications by further contrast can often be seemingly harmless notes. However,
when taken in their collective context they can have the potential to be very violent both
physically and psychologically. The point being made is that is that in developing the case
management suggestions it was necessary to look beyond any given instance or exemplar
of stalker/harasser behaviour since in different contexts the same behaviour can have
radically different implications for threat assessment. Instead of solely looking at the
Boon, J.C.W. and Sheridan, L. (2001). Stalker typologies: A law enforcement perspective. Journal of
Threat Assessment, 1, 75-97.
offender behaviour per se it is also necessary to place that information in the motivational
context of the category into which the offender most accurately fits.
Moving now to the implications of the system for threat assessment it indicates that all but
the infatuation harassment group have the potential for danger. However the nature of the
danger and the triggers which cause it differ among the three remaining categories. In
addition the ability to predict the likelihood of threatening and dangerous stalking
behaviour occurring also differs among the these three groups. Specifically, the data
suggest that the most predictable of the three emerged as being ex-partner/harassment
stalking. Triggers for the verbal and physical abuse perpetrated by this stalker group were
characterised as being physical proximity, legal disputes, chance meetings and partisan
hostile group allegiance. In addition to being the most predictable in terms of identifying
precursors to violence, this group also emerged as the one which was least intractable to
identify ways of attenuating danger. Among the effective management strategies were any
measures that: (i) limited as far as possible accelerents to existing grievances, (ii) curtailed
meetings both of the individuals and their respective associates, and (iii), increased
geographical distance between the parties concerned.
By contrast geographical distance made little or no difference in the cases classified as
being sadistic stalking. Indeed attempts by the victim to evade the sadistic stalker tended
to exacerbate his attempts and to fuel his determination to elevate the victim’s sense of
powerlessness by tracking her down. Only in cases where the victim removed to a new
identity beyond the reach of being discovered by the sadistic stalker did victims’ in this
group evade further harassment. In addition the nature of the sadistic stalking differed
again from the other groups, instead having hallmarks of offenders acting in a relentless,
cold, calculated and meticulous fashion, and making incremental attempts to induce
Boon, J.C.W. and Sheridan, L. (2001). Stalker typologies: A law enforcement perspective. Journal of
Threat Assessment, 1, 75-97.
helplessness in the victims (for a full description of the sadistic personality and its
relationship to stalking see Boon and Sheridan, in press).
As outlined above the delusional-fixated stalker from a law enforcement perspective, is in
contrast to the sadistic stalker, very much more likely to have committed and to have
continued committing obvious offences. Although not meticulous and planned in the way
of the sadistic stalker, the delusional-fixated stalker nevertheless emerged as having the
capacity to be very dangerous. Such intervention techniques as did have an impact tended
to come from those professionals involved with attempting to ensure that the offenders
were taking the necessary medication. In the ‘less dangerous’ sub-group of delusional
fixated stalker, there was little evidence that any intervention was effective in eradicating
the offender’s fixation on the victim. As in other studies relating to erotomania there was
however some evidence that over lengthy time periods the offender eventually changed
his/her perspective regarding the victim’s motivation. This may be illustrated by an
example from one of the 124 cases. A married male formed a delusional fixation for a
married female bank clerk whom he barely knew. His delusional orientation moved over
time through three phases. Initially he behaved as if she would immediately leave her
husband for him. Then after several weeks his account of her ignoring him moved to an
apparent belief that she did not want to hurt her husband. Finally after several months, the
orientation changed again, this time to a belief that the victim’s husband had put voices
into her head to dissuade her from having a relationship with the offender. At no time did
the offender threaten the victim or her husband but the delusional fixation remains to this
date and the offender’s own career and family life have been devastated.
Boon, J.C.W. and Sheridan, L. (2001). Stalker typologies: A law enforcement perspective. Journal of
Threat Assessment, 1, 75-97.
As noted above, the system which has been advanced has been designed for a specific
purpose and is intended to complement rather than supplant others which have been
developed for alternative purposes. Training programmes in the use of this system for
professionals involved in the management of stalking cases take at least three days. It is
therefore not possible within the confines of a paper to move exhaustively through the
case management implications of the typologies. However as guide of the issues involved
in using the system in the field, Table 2 provides a general overview. It is at this point
premature to state unequivocally that this system is effective across diverse Western
countries and future work will be addressed at looking closely at this. In addition as the
phenomenon of stalking itself becomes more widely known and understood it may well be
that the system will need updating to reflect such change.
Boon, J.C.W. and Sheridan, L. (2001). Stalker typologies: A law enforcement perspective. Journal of
Threat Assessment, 1, 75-97.
American Psychiatric Association (1994). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental
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Boon, J.C.W. and Sheridan, L. (in press). The sadistic stalker. In J.C.W. Boon and L.
Sheridan (Eds.). Psychosexual harassment and stalking: The nature, investigation and
punishment of criminal obsessive behaviour. Chichester: Wiley.
Dietz, P.E., Matthews, D.B., Martell, D.A., et al. (1991a). Threatening and otherwise
inappropriate letters to members of the United States Congress. Journal of Forensic
Sciences, 36, 1445-68.
Dietz, P.E., Matthews, D.B., Van Duyne, C., et al. (1991b). Threatening and otherwise
inappropriate letters to Hollywood celebrities. Journal of Forensic Sciences, 36, 185-209.
Geberth, V.J. (1992). Stalkers. Law and Order, 10, 1-6.
Holmes, R.H. (1993). Stalking in America: Types and methods of criminal stalkers.
Journal of Contemporary Criminal Justice, 9, 317-27.
Humphrey, N. (1984). Consciousness regained: Chapters in the development of mind.
Oxford: Oxford University Press.
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Kienlen, K.K., Birmingham, D.L., Solberg, K.B, O’Regan, J.T. and Meloy, J.R. (1997).
A comparative study of psychotic and nonpsychotic stalking. Journal of the American
Academy of Psychiatry and the Law, 25, 317-34.
McAnaney, K., Curliss, L. and Abeyta-Price, C.E. (1993). From imprudence to crime:
anti-stalking laws. Notre Dame Law Review, 68, 819-909.
Mullen, P.E., Pathé, M. and Purcell, R. (2000). Stalkers and their Victims. Cambridge
University Press.
Office of the District Attorney of San Diego. (2000). Personal Communication
Zona, M.A., Sharma, K.K., and Lane, J. (1993). A comparative study of erotomanic and
obsessional subjects in a forensic sample. Journal of Forensic Sciences, 38, 894-903.
Boon, J.C.W. and Sheridan, L. (2001). Stalker typologies: A law enforcement perspective. Journal of
Threat Assessment, 1, 75-97.
Table 1: Inter-rater reliability assessment
Author 1:
Author 2:
rater 1:
rater 2:
Author 1:
/ 98.4% 96% 95.2%
Author 2:
98.4% / 95.2% 94.4%
rater 1:
96% 95.2% / 92.7%
rater 2:
95.2% 94.4% 92.7% /
Boon, J.C.W. and Sheridan, L. (2001). Stalker typologies: A law enforcement perspective. Journal of
Threat Assessment, 1, 75-97.
Table 2: Overview of classification system
Category and Status
Ex-partner Infatuation Delusional Sadistic
Harassment/ Harassment -fixated Stalking
Stalking Stalking
Duration Long term Short Long Long
(if addressed) (while in
Victim Anger/fear/ Nuisance/ Fear/ Fear/
perception hate Embarrassment bewilderment helpless
Victim risk proximity/ Low High High
Ability to Potential High Low Very
intervene low
Techniques re-location Sensitive Perpetrator Secret re-
to minimise (distance criterion) explanation referred to location/
threat (e.g.) reasonable (young)/job re- forensic maximum
settlements location (adult) psychiatrist support
Motive Hate/resentment Love Fixation Control
Victim Hate/ Object Proximity/ Lack (sic.)
selection resentment/ of physical of apparent
criteria resources desire attraction obvious
Probability Geography/ Low Opportunity Very
of victim circumstance related high
... While research suggests categorising stalkers based on characteristics such as the perpetrators' mental health and motivations (Mullen et al., 1999), consensus is that the perpetrator's relationship with their victim is a better basis for this categorisation (Mohandie et al., 2006;Sheridan & Boon, 2002). Following the latter approach, research has shown that, concerning the type of relationship between stalking perpetrators and victims, current or former intimate partners are the most prevalent group amongst stalking perpetrators (Breiding et al., 2014;Mullen et al., 1999;Spitzberg, 1999;White et al., 2020). ...
... The recent acknowledgement of stalking in the light of the digital era has caused research on the subject to focus on the relationship between the Dark Tetrad and cyberstalking, which have been found to be correlated, both in the context of intimate partner violence, and in everyday life (Kircaburun et al., 2018;March et al., 2020;Smoker & March, 2017). In relation to offline stalking behaviours, and inspired by the attested positive correlation of stalking with cluster B personality disorders, such as narcissistic disorder (Mullen et al., 1999), researchers have also investigated separately dark traits such as subclinical narcissism, subclinical psychopathy and sadism, and have found they are also associated with stalking behaviours (Ménard & Pincus, 2012;Sheridan & Boon, 2002;Storey et al., 2009). These findings could be a strong starting point towards addressing the research gap and exploring the hypothesis that the Dark Tetrad may be positively associated with stalking behaviours. ...
... In general, these findings are consistent with existing literature (e.g., Jones & Olderback, 2014;Zeigler-Hill et al., 2016). Separate studies on subclinical narcissism, subclinical psychopathy and sadism (e.g., Ménard & Pincus, 2012;Sheridan & Boon, 2002;Storey et al., 2009) have shown an association of these traits with stalking perpetration, which is consistent with present findings. Subclinical psychopathy was the best predictor for stalking perpetration amongst the three. ...
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Stalking is broadly described as a pattern of unwanted and repeated pursuing behaviours towards a person, which cause this person fear or distress. It has been characterised as a heterogeneous crime and is often underreported, contributing to the research scarcity surrounding it. Nonetheless, existing literature has suggested a link between stalking and sexual violence, as perpetrators of both crimes have been found to share adverse cognitions and personality traits. However, the nature of the relationship between stalking and sexual violence remains underexplored. The aim of the present study is to explore the relationship between stalking, sexual violence, gender, and the Dark Tetrad (Machiavellianism, subclinical narcissism, subclinical psychopathy, and sadism) in the general population. The sample consisted of 319 participants from the general population, who were recruited online and completed a questionnaire. Stalking perpetration, sexual harassment, sexual coercion perpetration, and Dark Tetrad personality traits were measured. Analyses showed significant correlations between stalking, sexual harassment, and sexual coercion. No gender differences were found in stalking perpetration. Small but significant gender differences were found in sexual harassment and sexual coercion; however, gender was not a significant predictor of such behaviours. While the Dark Tetrad was strongly correlated with stalking and sexual violence, not all its components significantly predicted these behaviours. These results provide valuable insights regarding stalking and sexual violence in their less severe forms, and, therefore, contribute towards the effective prevention of such phenomena and towards potential escalation of sexual violence. Keywords: Stalking, Sexual Harassment, Sexual Coercion, Dark Tetrad, General Population.
... Among all violent stalkers, there appears to be a strong positive correlation between likelihood of affective violence and prior sexual intimacy with the victim (Meloy 2002). Sheridan and Boon (2002) noted that about 13% of stalkers are sadistic in their law enforcement typology, and considered them long term, high risk, and motivated by control. ...
The construct of psychopathy is typically viewed as a psychopathology, and more specifically, a severe personality disorder with manifest psychobiological deficiencies. There is an alternative perspective that certain aspects of psychopathy are evolutionarily adaptive, and confer an advantage at both the individual and group level. In this article, we explore the research on psychopathy as it relates to social, sexual, and violent predation to demonstrate that psychopathy provides an adaptive psychobiological template for success. Utilizing Meloy's (1988, 2006) ten normative criteria for predatory violence, it appears psychopathy research findings over the past 30 years facilitate four domains of predatory behavior in humans: calmness, rationality, attention, and fantasy.
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There is limited information available on the phenomenon of stalking in the Asian context, especially in mainland China. This study investigated individuals' perceptions of stalking behavior, the motives of stalkers, and the effective strategies for coping with stalking victimization in a sample of 985 young adults (aged 18–33 years) from Liaoning province in mainland China. The influence of specific demographic (i.e., age, sex, religiosity, and education) and psychosocial (i.e., social bonds and self‐control) characteristics on individuals' perceptions of effective coping strategies for stalking victimization were also examined. In general, men and women held significantly different perceptions of stalking behavior, stalkers' motives, and strategies that were considered effective for coping with stalking. Multivariate analyses indicated that a low educational level was significantly associated with the perception that avoidant tactics constituted an effective strategy for coping with stalking victimization. Moreover, individuals with lower educational levels and stronger social bonds tended to perceive proactive and aggressive tactics to constitute an effective strategy for coping with stalking victimization. Finally, individuals with lower self‐control tended to endorse compliance tactics when coping with stalking victimization. In view of the devastating nature and consequences of stalking, the findings of this study highlight the need for anti‐stalking legislation in mainland China.
Stalking can be defined as a pattern of repeated, unwanted behaviours by one person to another. These behaviours may take the form of communicative intrusion, third-party contact and physical or sexual assault. The individual stalking behaviours experienced by victims have been found to differ in every case, specifically dependent on their stalker-victim relationship. Recent tragedies have shown that the police force generally underestimates the risk of ex-intimate stalking and harassment behaviours. This study aims to identify patterns of stalking behaviours from a victim’s perspective, specifically, whether there are any patterns of behaviour among the ex-intimate stalkers, in comparison to acquaintance or stranger stalkers. Information from the accounts of individuals who had reported unwanted experiences as a result of one of three stalker-victim relationships (ex-intimate, acquaintance or stranger) was extracted from the National Stalking Helpline database. Analyses were conducted on a sample of 1626 victims’ reports. One-way ANOVA and multiple logistic regressions were conducted to establish any common patterns of behaviour among the subgroups of stalkers and to ascertain which behaviours increased the odds of being categorised as an ex-intimate stalker. Results indicated that ex-intimate stalkers presented considerably more behaviours than acquaintance or stranger stalkers; some of which included third-party contact, criminal damage, physical and sexual assault. Results also indicated that ex-intimate stalkers presented more severe behaviours than the other subgroups. The majority of stalking behaviours were found to produce a statistically significant predictive contribution to being classed as an ex-intimate stalker. The findings in this study highlight that common misconception surrounding ex-intimate stalking still exists at every level of the Criminal Justice System. Results and implications for future research are discussed.
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Forensic psychiatrist in Switzerland are inevitably faced with examinees from foreign cultures. In this paper, starting from a case report several aspects as criminal behaviour of foreigners, different patterns of psychiatric disorders among foreigners, transcultural competency of forensic psychiatrists, the collaboration with translators and the etiquette in dealing with people from foreign cultures are discussed.
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Purpose The purpose of this paper is to examine the relationship between posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms and poor general health reported by female victims of intimate partner stalking (IPS) and victims’ forgiveness or lack of forgiveness towards their perpetrators, controlling for escalation of stalking, age of victims and dispositional forgiveness. Design/methodology/approach A total of 120 Italian female victims of IPS, who had obtained an administrative protective order (PO) issued by police in stalking cases (Ammonimento), took part in a retrospective study that examined the relationship between the presence or absence of victims’ forgiveness of perpetrators and victims’ PTSD symptoms and general well-being. Interviews took place after one, two or three years following the PO. Findings All participants reported some level of direct or indirect stalking, and up to 98 per cent had suffered both. In half of all cases, a PO had been breached within a year of its issuance. Positive forgiveness was not associated with lower PTSD symptoms and was marginally associated with well-being. Negative forgiveness (e.g. holding a grudge, desiring revenge) was associated with greater PTSD symptoms; holding a grudge was significantly associated with poorer general health. Research limitations/implications Victims of IPS experience a state of fear and anxiety due to the constant risk of being attacked, followed and controlled. Compared to studies about the protective role of forgiveness in community couples, this study found that among couples where stalking is present not only positive forgiveness does not take place at the same rate, but it is also not associated with the increased well-being. On the contrary, lack of forgiveness by stalked victims was related to PTSD symptoms and poorer health. Harbouring negative feelings, such a desire for revenge and holding a grudge towards a perpetrator, worsened woman’s mental health. These findings are novel and may assist the criminal justice system, law enforcement and service providers in their efforts to help women who are victims of IPS. Originality/value This study addresses the relationship between forgiveness and lack of forgiveness among victims of IPS and PTSD symptoms and victims’ poor health. Although longitudinal studies are needed to establish any causal relationship between stalking and mental health and the possibly mediating effects of forgiveness, this study is a first contribution to this important field of inquiry.
Society today is fascinated by crime. Crime is a hot topic in the media, so that people are continually exposed to criminal events, portrayals of those who commit them, and the suffering of victims. Yet the reality of crime is often very different from how it is portrayed in the media. Most crime is neither violent nor morbid; most offenders are not psychopaths, and although prison generally does not work, there may well be other, less punitive but more constructive interventions that are actually quite effective. This book exposes some of the most prevalent myths about crime and criminal behaviour. In addition it provides the reader with up-to-date knowledge on crime and offending behaviour. It also highlights the ways in which psychological methods of research and psychological knowledge can help us to understand criminal behaviour and the ways that targeted interventions are developed based upon this. Pakes’ and Winstone's Psychology and Crime is essential reading for students taking courses in the psychology of crime, criminal and forensic psychology, criminology, and community justice, as well as for other courses where a knowledge of the complex relationship between psychology and crime - and its application in practice - is required. Practitioners and policy-makers will also find it highly informative.
Stalking has emerged as a significant social problem which not only commands considerable public attention but is now, in many jurisdictions, a specific form of criminal offense. This new edition brings the reader completely up-to-date with the explosion in published research and clinical studies in the field, and covers new issues such as cyberstalking, stalking health professionals, stalking in the workplace, female stalkers, juvenile stalkers, stalking celebrities, evaluating risk in the stalking situation, as well as exploring changes to the legal status of the behavior. Illustrated with case studies throughout, this is the definitive guide and reference for anyone with professional, academic or other interests in this complex behavior. © P. Mullen, M. Pathé and R. Purcell 2009 and Cambridge University Press, 2009.
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Onderzoek naar deviante emotioverwerking bij stalkers aan de hand van de dot probe in kader van een bachelorproef.
The growth in the use of interconnected devices in the UK is well-documented. Society has embraced new technology allowing access to information, systems, and people; children are being described as digital natives and social networking, internet telephony, and accessing digital entertainment are a major part of their lives. However, whilst the ubiquitous nature of modern communication systems has brought many benefits, there exist a minority that uses the technology to harass others. This paper considers the phenomenon of Cyberstalking and presents an analysis of the problem and the responses provided on the first survey that addresses issue specifically. The paper discusses the nature of attacks, the victim-attacker relationship, the impact of the attacks and the actions taken to resolve the issue. The paper also considers both the legal and technological aspects and presents recommendations to help reduce the occurrence of Cyberstalking.
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This article presents results from the first survey of stalking victims to be conducted in the United Kingdom. In-depth questionnaire data are drawn on to investigate the course and nature of prolonged stalking in 95 self-defined victims. Findings indicate a pattern of repeated intrusions, a high violence risk for both victims and their loved ones, a dearth of sources of support, and varied police response. Stalkers had higher socio-economic status than most other criminals, were ex-partners of the victim in under half of cases, and did not necessarily operate alone.
This clinical study ws devised to elucidate the behaviors, motivations, and psychopathology of stalkers. It concerned 145 stalkers referred to a forensic psychiatry center for treatment. Most of the stalkers were men (79%, N = 114), and many were unemployed (39%, N = 56); 52% (N = 75) had never had an intimate relationship. Victims included ex-partners (30%, N = 44), professional (23%, N = 34) or work (11%, N = 16) contacts, and strangers (14%, N = 20). Five types of stalkers were recognized: rejected, intimacy seeking, incompetent, resentful, and predatory. Delusional disorders were common (30%, N = 43), particularly among intimacy-seeking stalkers, although those with personality disorders predominated among rejected stalkers. The duration of stalking was from 4 weeks to 20 years (mean = 12 months), longer for rejected and intimacy-seeking stalkers. Sixty-three percent of the stalkers (N = 84) made threats, and 36% (N = 52) were assaultive. Threats and property damage were more frequent with resentful stalkers, but rejected and predatory stalkers committed more assaults. Committing assault was also predicted by previous convictions, substance-related disorders, and previous threats. Stalkers have a range of motivations, from reasserting power over a partner who rejected them to the quest for a loving relationship. Most stalkers are lonely and socially incompetent, but all have the capacity to frighten and distress their victims. Bringing stalking to an end requires a mixture of appropriate legal sanctions and therapeutic interventions.
Stalking is causing pervasive and intense personal suffering and is an area of psychiatry that is currently overlooked. To review demographic and clinical characteristics of stalkers as well as the psychological consequences for victims of stalking. A Medline and PsycLit search was conducted on stalking, forensic psychiatry, personality disorders, de Clérambault syndrome and erotomania, with respect to the relevance of the articles selected for stalking. Stalkers are best thought of as a heterogeneous group whose behaviour can be motivated by different forms of psychopathology, including psychosis and severe personality disorders. There is a clear need to arrive at a consensus on a typology of stalkers and associated diagnostic criteria. The effectiveness of psychological and pharmacological treatments have not yet been investigated. Treatment may need to be supplemented with external incentives provided by the legal system.