ArticlePDF Available

The Tactical Topography of Stalking Victimization and Management

Abstract

A meta-analysis of 108 samples across 103 studies of stalking related phenomena, representing more than 70,000 participants, reveals an average prevalence across studies of 23.5% for women and 10.5% for men, with an average duration of al- most 2 years. The average proportion of female victims across studies was 75%, and 77% of stalking emerged from some form of prior acquaintance, with 49% originating from romantic relationships. New typologies of stalking behavior, cop- ing responses to stalking, and symptomology due to stalking victimization are re- ported. Across 42 studies, the average physical violence incidence was 33%, and 17 studies produced an average sexual violence incidence of slightly greater than 10%. A summary of 32 studies of restraining orders indicated that they are vio- lated an average of 40% of the time and are perceived as followed by worse events almost 21% of the time.
... When asked about their most recent experience of stalking, 53.3% of women and 50.8% of men reported that it had lasted for more than 6 months (Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2017). Furthermore, victims of stalking have been found to experience a range of social and psychological harms (e.g., reclusivity, helplessness and reduced self-esteem), and have made substantial lifestyle changes (e.g., changes to routine, security and employment) because of their victimization (Blaauw et al., 2002;Pathé & Mullen, 1997;Spitzberg, 2002). ...
... No research to date has examined the influence of perpetrator motivation on perceptions of stalking. However, a small body of closely related research with Australian community samples has examined the influence of perpetrator intent (Dennison, 2007;Dennison & Thomson, 2000, 2002. In this context, perpetrator intent relates to explicit evidence of intent to create fear or apprehension or to cause mental or physical harm, and was manipulated via the presence or absence of a threatening message (Dennison, 2007;Dennison & Thomson, 2000, 2002 and the discovery of the alleged perpetrator's diary detailing the target's movements (Dennison & Thomson, 2000, 2002. ...
... However, a small body of closely related research with Australian community samples has examined the influence of perpetrator intent (Dennison, 2007;Dennison & Thomson, 2000, 2002. In this context, perpetrator intent relates to explicit evidence of intent to create fear or apprehension or to cause mental or physical harm, and was manipulated via the presence or absence of a threatening message (Dennison, 2007;Dennison & Thomson, 2000, 2002 and the discovery of the alleged perpetrator's diary detailing the target's movements (Dennison & Thomson, 2000, 2002. ...
Article
Full-text available
The present study examines the influence of prior relationship (intimate, non‐intimate), perpetrator‐target sex (male‐female, female‐male) and perpetrator motivation (romance, upset) on (1) the point at which behavior crosses the line and becomes stalking, and (2) the likelihood of offering five forms of advice to the target (formal support, informal support, protective measures, avoidance measures, threatening action). The study used a 2 × 2 × 2 between‐participants experimental design. Four‐hundred and sixty‐one UK students read one of eight versions of a hypothetical scenario that they were informed may or may not depict a stalking situation. Analyses revealed that 97.8% (n = 451) of participants believed the perpetrator's behavior constituted stalking, and that behavior was perceived to cross the line earlier in the scenario when the perpetrator's motivation was to upset the target in the context of a non‐intimate prior relationship only. Prior relationship, perpetrator‐target sex and perpetrator motivation also influenced the likelihood of offering various forms of advice to the target. These findings further demonstrate the impact of situational characteristics on perceptions of stalking and highlight the importance of educational campaigns and programs to increase people's understanding of stalking.
... Victims' health risks from stalking are also influenced by the coping approaches that they adopt (e.g., avoidant, proactive, passive, compliant, and aggressive strategies) [18,19]. A large majority of those who perpetrate stalking and intrusive behaviors (i.e., stalkers) are the victims' former intimate partners (49-81%), followed in frequency by victims' acquaintances (13)(14)(15)(16)(17)(18)(19)(20)(21)(22).5%) and strangers (10-18%) [20][21][22][23]. Stalkers were found to be motivated by a desire to control their victims or to rebuild a relationship with them (mostly by former intimate partners), by the victim's attractiveness (mostly by acquaintances), or by a desire to harass or harm the victim (e.g., victim intimidation; mostly by strangers) [3,20]. ...
... Victims' health risks from stalking are also influenced by the coping approaches that they adopt (e.g., avoidant, proactive, passive, compliant, and aggressive strategies) [18,19]. A large majority of those who perpetrate stalking and intrusive behaviors (i.e., stalkers) are the victims' former intimate partners (49-81%), followed in frequency by victims' acquaintances (13)(14)(15)(16)(17)(18)(19)(20)(21)(22).5%) and strangers (10-18%) [20][21][22][23]. Stalkers were found to be motivated by a desire to control their victims or to rebuild a relationship with them (mostly by former intimate partners), by the victim's attractiveness (mostly by acquaintances), or by a desire to harass or harm the victim (e.g., victim intimidation; mostly by strangers) [3,20]. ...
... With the exception of the mainland Chinese males, the gendered trend of prevalence found in this study was in line with the literature, with a higher prevalence estimate found in females than in males. The meta-analysis of 103 stalking studies performed by Spitzberg [22] estimated prevalence rates of 23.5% for females and 10.5% for males. Of note, the prevalence rate in this study was higher than the reported mean incidence rate of 19% in college population studies [22]. ...
Article
Full-text available
Many studies of stalking and intrusive behaviors are conducted with samples from individualist Western cultures, and limited information is available on such behavior in collectivist cultures. By using a sample of 1143 adults (440 males and 703 females) from Hong Kong (n = 305), mainland China (n = 464), and Ghana (n = 374), this study compares perceptions and experiences of stalking and intrusive behaviors as well as the frequency and duration of the participants’ worst experiences with such behaviors. The lifetime prevalence rate of stalking victimization for the overall sample was 34.6%, 22.3% for the Hong Kongers, 32.3% for the mainland Chinese, and 47.3% for the Ghanaians. Relative to the Hong Kongers and Ghanaians, the mainland Chinese were more likely to judge most intrusive activities as unacceptable. However, the mainland Chinese were generally less likely to have experienced the listed intrusive activities than their counterparts. The Ghanaians, in contrast, reported significantly more victimization experiences than the Hong Kongers and the mainland Chinese, especially with aggression and surveillance, unwanted attention, and persistent courtship and imposition types of behaviors. Furthermore, the mainland Chinese and Ghanaians generally reported significantly higher frequencies of stalking and intrusive behavior in their worst experiences than did the Hong Kongers. Conversely, the Hong Kongers and Ghanaians reported significantly more persistent types of stalking and intrusive behaviors than the mainland Chinese. The results of this study indicate the need for anti-stalking legislation in Hong Kong, mainland China, and Ghana, given the devastating nature and consequences of stalking and intrusive behaviors there.
... The traditional view of stalking is that the perpetrators of stalking are more likely to be male, whereas the victims are more likely to be female [10]. Indeed, a meta-analysis by Spitzberg [11] indicated that over 70% of stalkers were male, and more than 80% of victims were female. A further meta-analysis of 175 studies by Spitzberg and Cupach [4] concluded that females were more likely than males to experience stalking victimization at some time in their lives (28.5% vs. 11% lifetime risk, respectively). ...
... A further meta-analysis of 175 studies by Spitzberg and Cupach [4] concluded that females were more likely than males to experience stalking victimization at some time in their lives (28.5% vs. 11% lifetime risk, respectively). Only a few studies in Spitzberg's [11] review reported stalking perpetration rates, and of these, the mean rates were 16% for males and 9% for females. ...
... Stalking may consist of a wide array of behaviors, ranging from harassment (e.g., standing outside the victim's home, showing up to a victim's location) to life-threatening behaviors (e.g., threats to harm or kill the victim) [6,12]. Studies have identified the most frequent perpetrators of stalking to be ex-intimate partners (49-81%), followed by acquaintances (13)(14)(15)(16)(17)(18)(19)(20)(21)(22).5%) and strangers (10-18%) [11,[13][14][15]. Most ex-intimate partner stalkers appear to be motivated by the need to control their victim or the desire to restart a relationship [16,17]. ...
Article
Full-text available
Information on the stalking perpetration dynamics of young male and female adults in Asian countries is scarce, particularly in relation to stalkers’ offending characteristics, perpetration behaviors, motives, and other violent and nonviolent behaviors. This study compares the stalking perpetration dynamics (i.e., offending characteristics, lifetime stalking perpetration behaviors and motives, and other violent and nonviolent behaviors) of young male and female adults in Hong Kong. Of the 2496 participants, recruited from all eight public and two private universities in Hong Kong, 45 participants (1.8%; mean age = 22.84 years) reported stalking perpetration during their lifetimes (33 males (mean age = 22.56 years) and 12 females (mean age = 23.58 years)). Significantly more males than females reported that they had engaged in stalking perpetration in the past 12 months. In general, participants most frequently perpetrated surveillance-oriented stalking behaviors, followed by approach-oriented stalking behaviors and intimidation- and aggression-oriented stalking behaviors. Significantly more females than males reported to have threatened to harm or kill their victims. Additionally, significantly more females than males reported “the victim caught me doing something” as their motive for stalking. The findings of our study provide useful information for prioritization during criminal investigations. Increased understanding of the stalking perpetration dynamics of males and females will help the police and threat assessment professionals to formulate their investigation and management plans.
... As mentioned, many victims often become desensitized to these behaviors over time, which presents an opportunity for offenders to escalate behaviors. It is not uncommon for stalking to escalate to physical and sexual violence (Spitzberg, 2002). Increased discussion and awareness of stalking behaviors may not only protect current and future victims from unnecessary physical violence but raise public awareness to a lobbying level, altering the current laws in a way more protective of victims. ...
Article
Full-text available
The current research utilized the National Crime Victimization Survey Supplemental Victimization Survey to investigate stalking in the United States. These data, collected from stalking victims, address the relationship between victims' perceptions of the stalker's motives on two post‐victimization outcomes. Specifically, we examined the relationship between the victim's assessment of motive and the degree of harm they reported, along with exploring the relationship between harm and the likelihoods of engaging in self‐protective behaviors. Here, harm was measured through an index of specific fears, concerns, and emotional distresses. We found that the frequency of stalking behaviors, the duration of the stalking experience, and the overall invasiveness of the victimization, in addition to certain motives, were positively correlated with harm. Furthermore, we found that harm was positively correlated with a number of protective actions. For researchers, this work may serve to provide entry points in the development of new grounded theory. For practitioners in law enforcement, this work may provide insights into the invasive nature of stalking and the fear and harm caused to the victim.
... Although stalking is a sex-neutral offense, most victims of stalking are women (over 80%) and most stalkers are men (over 70%) (Pathé et al., 2000;Spitzberg, 2002). Recent studies have overwhelmingly demonstrated that stalking a member of the opposite sex is the most prevalent type of stalking (Chan & Sheridan, 2020a, 2020bChan et al., 2020). ...
Article
Full-text available
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.
... Relationship scientists have focused on identifying traits and preferences that describe who pursuers find attractive (Joel et al., 2017) but have spent comparatively less time thinking about how individuals pursue those relationships or what happens when those strategies run amok. On the other hand, criminological work highlighting the most aggressive and coercive relationship maintenance tactics (specifically stalking behavior; Spitzberg, 2002) has taken the opposite approach, relying primarily on informant and survivor reports of victimization (Langhinricheen-Rohling, 2012). Although this work has been effective in creating taxonomies of behaviors (e.g., Ali et al., 2016) and typologies of perpetrators (Meloy, 1999) centering on being the recipient of unwanted pursuit tactics (Williams & Frieze, 2005), it neglects the importance of studying the pushiness that pursuers intentionally enact and that individuals-particularly women, trans, and nonbinary people-encounter with relative regularity (Davis et al., 2012). ...
Article
To capture the attention of a romantic partner requires thoughtful selection of effective pursuit strategies. Sometimes, these strategies err on the side of caution; in other instances, pursuers can take a bolder approach to their courtship endeavors. In the present research, we developed a measure capturing the degree to which a romantic pursuer intends to take a presumptuous course of action. Across five studies (Ntotal = 2,137), we validated a 13-item self-report measure: the presumptuous romantic intentions (PRI) scale. First, we used a training set to refine item content and explore factor structures. Then, using a validation set, we confirmed a bifactor solution with one general and three auxiliary factors. We then observed test-retest reliability over periods of 3 and 4 weeks, found strict measurement invariance across both relationship status (single and partnered individuals) and across gender (women and men). We also found that PRI predicted actual presumptuous romantic behavior over the subsequent month. Finally, we established a pattern of convergent and discriminant associations with relationship measures, socioemotional outcomes, executive function, dark personality traits and more. This new measure may be of interest to researchers studying intimate relationships, partner violence, and the gray area in between. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2022 APA, all rights reserved).
... A more recent publication from the National Stalking Clinic applied Mullen et al.'s typology and determined that, in line with previous research (Spitzberg 2002;Mullen et al. 1999), the most prevalent type of stalking (47%) could be categorised as ex-intimate partners, fulfilling the criteria for 'rejected' stalkers. The next largest group were intimacy seekers (36%), who are those believing themselves to be in a relationship despite there being no evidence of one existing. ...
Article
Full-text available
COVID-19 pandemic lockdown changed the way in which we engage with others and our ability to enjoy free movement away from the confinement of our own homes. Whilst this dramatic change affected everyone, it constituted something much more threatening for victims of stalking, repeatedly targeted by those with an obsessive and fixated behaviour. Whilst we know more about the impact of lockdown stalking behaviour, very little is known about how the police and frontline workers are responding to this challenge. This research aims to increase an understanding of stalking in this context. Firstly, it presents a quantitative examination of recorded data on stalking offences provided by all 43 police forces across England and Wales. In addition, it explores the experiences of those working on the frontline who respond to reports of stalking made by victims. A total of 15 in-depth interviews were conducted with twelve police officers from three forces in England, as well as three advocates of victims from two national stalking services. Analyses show that stalking behaviour has increased and evolved to use accessible channels alongside the COVID restrictions. In conclusion, considerable pressure has been placed on frontline workers to adapt and respond not only to increased incidents but also the changes in the nature of stalking behaviour.
... Relationship scientists have focused on identifying traits and preferences that describe who pursuers find attractive (Joel, Eastwick, & Finkel, 2017) but have spent comparatively less time thinking about how individuals pursue those relationships or what happens when those strategies run amok. On the other hand, criminological work highlighting the most aggressive and coercive relationship maintenance tactics (specifically stalking behavior; Spitzberg, 2002) has taken the opposite approach, relying primarily on informant and survivor reports of victimization (Langhinricheen-Rohling, 2012). Although this work has been effective in meticulously creating taxonomies of behaviors (e.g., Ali et al., 2016) and typologies of perpetrators (Meloy, 1999) centering on being the recipient of unwanted pursuit tactics (Williams & Frieze, 2005), it does neglect the importance of studying the quotidian pushiness that pursuers intentionally enact and that individuals-particularly women and trans and nonbinary people-encounter with relative regularity (Davis, Swan, & Gambone, 2012). ...
Preprint
Full-text available
To capture the attention of a romantic partner requires thoughtful selection of effective pursuit strategies. Sometimes these strategies air on the side of caution, and in other instances pursuers can take a more persistent approach to their courtship endeavors. In the present research, we developed a measure capturing the degree to which a romantic pursuer intends to take a presumptuous course of action. Across five studies (Ntotal = 2,137), we validated a 13-item self-report measure: the presumptuous romantic intentions (PRI) scale. First, we used a training set to refine item content and explore factor structures. Then using a validation set, we confirmed a bifactor solution with one general and three auxiliary factors. We then observed test-retest reliability over periods of three and four weeks, found strict measurement invariance across both relationship status (single and partnered individuals) and across gender (men and women). We also found that PRI predicted actual romantic behavior over the subsequent month. Finally, we established a pattern of convergent and discriminant associations with relationship measures, socioemotional outcomes, executive function, dark personality traits and more. This new measure may be of interest to researchers studying intimate relationships, partner violence, and the grey area in between.
Article
O presente estudo faz a análise do fenômeno do stalking, abordando acerca da conceituação da conduta, além dos tipos de stalkers, das vítimas e das consequências relacionadas aos atos do stalker. A conduta passou a ser relevante ao estudo do direito penal, inclusive da criminologia, sendo criminalizada em diversos países e, mais recentemente, no Brasil, através da Lei 14.132/21. Trata-se de um estudo de direito comparado, que trás uma análise de como a conduta do stalking é tratada penalmente em Portugal e no Brasil, através do estudo de jurisprudências, decisões judiciais, de ambos os países. O estudo também trás apontamentos acerca da Lei 14.132/21, explicitando no que a mesma, apesar de ser a mais recente, dentre os países que criminalizaram a conduta, ainda foi publicada de forma incompleta e genérica e quais as possíveis implicações do texto da Lei nas decisões brasileiras. Palavras-Chave: Stalking. Criminalização. Lei 14.132/21