Stalking is unwanted or obsessive attention by an individual or group toward another person. Stalking behaviors are related to harassment and intimidation and may include following the victim in person or monitoring them. The word stalking is used, with some differing meanings, in psychology and psychiatry and also in some legal jurisdictions as a term for a criminal offense.
According to a 2002 report by the National Center for Victims of Crime, "virtually any unwanted contact between two people that directly or indirectly communicates a threat or places the victim in fear can be considered stalking," although in practice the legal standard is usually somewhat stricter.
- 1 Definitions
- 2 Psychology and behaviors
- 3 Epidemiology and prevalence
- 4 Laws on harassment and stalking
- 5 Popular culture
- 6 See also
- 7 References
- 8 Further reading
- 9 External links
The difficulties associated with precisely defining this term (or defining it at all) are well documented.
Having been used since at least the 16th century to refer to a prowler or a poacher (Oxford English Dictionary), the term stalker began to be used by the media in the 20th century to describe people who pester and harass others, initially with specific reference to the harassment of celebrities by strangers who were described as being "obsessed". This use of the word appears to have been coined by the tabloid press in the United States. Pathé and Mullen describe stalking as "a constellation of behaviours in which an individual inflicts upon another repeated unwanted intrusions and communications". Stalking can be defined as the willful and repeated following, watching and/or harassing of another person. Unlike other crimes, which usually involve one act, stalking is a series of actions that occur over a period of time.
Although stalking is illegal in most areas of the world, some of the actions that can contribute to stalking can be legal, such as gathering information, calling someone on the phone, sending gifts, emailing or instant messaging. They become illegal when they breach the legal definition of harassment e.g. an action such as sending a text is not usually illegal, but is illegal when frequently repeated to an unwilling recipient. In fact, United Kingdom law states the incident only has to happen twice when the stalker should be aware their behavior is unacceptable e.g. two phone calls to a stranger, two gifts following the victim then phoning them etc.
The Violence Against Women Act of 2005, amending a United States statute, 108 Stat. 1902 et seq, defined stalking as "engaging in a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to—
- (A) fear for his or her safety or the safety of others;
- (B) suffer substantial emotional distress."
Psychology and behaviors
People characterized as stalkers may be accused of having a mistaken belief that another person loves them (erotomania), or that they need rescuing. Stalking can sometimes consist of an accumulation of a series of actions which in themselves can be legal, such as calling on the phone, sending gifts, or sending emails.
Stalkers may use threats and violence to frighten their victims. They may also engage in vandalism and property damage or make physical attacks that are mostly meant to frighten. Less common are sexual assaults.
In the UK, for example, most stalkers are former partners and evidence indicates that the mentally ill stalking type of behaviour propagated in the media occurs in only a minority of cases of alleged stalking. A UK Home Office research study on the use of the Protection from Harassment Act stated: "The study found that the Protection from Harassment Act is being used to deal with a variety of behaviour such as domestic and inter-neighbour disputes. It is rarely used for stalking as portrayed by the media since only a small minority of cases in the survey involved such behaviour."
Psychological effects on victims
Disruptions in daily life necessary to escape the stalker, including changes in employment, residence and phone numbers, may take a toll on the victim's well-being and lead to a sense of isolation.
According to Lamber Royakkers:
"Stalking is a form of mental assault, in which the perpetrator repeatedly, unwantedly, and disruptively breaks into the life-world of the victim, with whom they have no relationship (or no longer have). Moreover, the separated acts that make up the intrusion cannot by themselves cause the mental abuse, but do taken together (cumulative effect)."
Gender studies of stalkers
According to one study, women often target other women, whereas men generally stalk women only. However, a January 2009 report from the United States Department of Justice reports that "Males were as likely to report being stalked by a male as a female offender. 43% of male stalking victims stated that the offender was female, while 41% of male victims stated that the offender was another male. Female victims of stalking were significantly more likely to be stalked by a male (67%) rather than a female (24%) offender." This report provides considerable data by gender and race about both stalking and harassment. The data for this report was obtained via the 2006 Supplemental Victimization Survey (SVS), conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau for the U.S. Department of Justice.
Types of stalkers
Psychologists often group individuals who stalk into two categories: psychotic and nonpsychotic. Stalkers may have pre-existing psychotic disorders such as delusional disorder, schizoaffective disorder, or schizophrenia. Most stalkers are nonpsychotic and may exhibit disorders or neuroses such as major depression, adjustment disorder, or substance dependence, as well as a variety of Axis II personality disorders (such as antisocial, borderline, dependent, narcissistic, or paranoid). Some of the symptoms of "obsessing" over a person may be characteristic of obsessive compulsive personality disorder. The nonpsychotic stalkers' pursuit of victims can be influenced by various psychological factors, including anger, hostility, projection of blame, obsession, dependency, minimization, denial, and jealousy. Conversely, as is more commonly the case, the stalker has no antipathic feelings towards the victim, but simply a longing that cannot be fulfilled due to deficiencies either in their personality or their society's norms.
In "A Study of Stalkers" Mullen et al.. (2000) identified five types of stalkers:
- Rejected stalkers pursue their victims in order to reverse, correct, or avenge a rejection (e.g. divorce, separation, termination).
- Resentful stalkers pursue a vendetta because of a sense of grievance against the victims – motivated mainly by the desire to frighten and distress the victim.
- Intimacy seekers seek to establish an intimate, loving relationship with their victim. Such stalkers often believe that the victim is a long-sought-after soul mate, and they were 'meant' to be together.
- Incompetent suitors, despite poor social or courting skills, have a fixation, or in some cases, a sense of entitlement to an intimate relationship with those who have attracted their amorous interest. Their victims are most often already in a dating relationship with someone else.
- Predatory stalkers spy on the victim in order to prepare and plan an attack – often sexual – on the victim.
The 2002 National Victim Association Academy defines an additional form of stalking: The vengeance/terrorist stalker. Both the vengeance stalker and terrorist stalker (the latter sometimes called the political stalker) do not, in contrast with some of the aforementioned types of stalkers, seek a personal relationship with their victims but rather force them to emit a certain response. While the vengeance stalker's motive is "to get even" with the other person whom he/she perceives has done some wrong to them (e.g., an employee who believes is fired without justification from their job by their superior), the political stalker intends to accomplish a political agenda, also using threats and intimidation to force his/her target to refrain and/or become involved in some particular activity, regardless of the victim's consent. For example, most prosecutions in this stalking category have been against anti-abortionists who stalk doctors in an attempt to discourage the performance of abortions.
Many stalkers[quantify] fit categories with paranoia disorders. Intimacy-seeking stalkers often have delusional disorders involving erotomanic delusions. With rejected stalkers, the continual clinging to a relationship of an inadequate or dependent person couples with the entitlement of the narcissistic personality, and the persistent jealousy of the paranoid personality. In contrast, resentful stalkers demonstrate an almost "pure culture of persecution," with delusional disorders of the paranoid type, paranoid personalities, and paranoid schizophrenia.
One of the uncertainties in understanding the origins of stalking is that the concept is now widely understood in terms of specific behaviors which are found to be offensive and/or illegal. As discussed above, these specific (apparently stalking) behaviors may have multiple motivations.
In addition, the personality characteristics that are often discussed as antecedent to stalking may also produce behavior that is not stalking as conventionally defined. Some research suggests there is a spectrum of what might be called "obsessed following behavior." People who complain obsessively and for years, about a perceived wrong or wrong-doer, when no one else can perceive the injury—and people who cannot or will not "let go" of a person or a place or an idea—comprise a wider group of persons that may be problematic in ways that seem similar to stalking. Some of these people get extruded from their organizations—they may get hospitalized or fired or let go if their behavior is defined in terms of illegal stalking, but many others do good or even excellent work in their organizations and appear to have just one focus of tenacious obsession.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Cyberstalking.|
Cyberstalking is the use of computers or other electronic technology to facilitate stalking. In Davis (2001), Lucks identified a separate category of stalkers who instead of a terrestrial means, prefer to perpetrate crimes against their targeted victims through electronic and online means.
Stalking by groups
According to a U.S. Department of Justice special report a significant number of people reporting stalking incidents claim that they had been stalked by more than one person, with 18.2% reporting that they were stalked by two people, 13.1% reporting that they had been stalked by three or more. The report did not break down these cases into numbers of victims who claimed to have been stalked by several people individually, and by people acting in concert. A question asked of respondents reporting three or more stalkers by polling personnel about whether the stalking was related to co-workers, members of a gang, fraternities, sororities, etc., did not have its responses indicated in the survey results as released by the DOJ. The data for this report was obtained via the 2006 Supplemental Victimization Survey (SVS), conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau for the Department of Justice.
According to a United Kingdom study by Sheridan and Boon, in 5% of the cases they studied there was more than one stalker, and 40% of the victims said that friends or family of their stalker had also been involved. In 15% of cases, the victim was unaware of any reason for the harassment.
Over a quarter of all stalking and harassment victims do not know their stalkers in any capacity. About a tenth responding to the SVS did not know the identities of their stalkers. 11% of victims said they had been stalked for five years or more.
False claims of stalking, "gang stalking" and delusions of persecution
In 1999, Pathe, Mullen and Purcell wrote that popular interest in stalking was promoting false claims. In 2004, Sheridan and Blaauw said that they estimated that 11.5% of claims in a sample of 357 reported claims of stalking were false.
According to Sheridan and Blaauw, 70% of false stalking reports were made by people suffering from delusions. Another study estimated the proportion of false reports that were due to delusions as 64%.
News reports have described how groups of Internet users have cooperated to exchange detailed conspiracy theories involving coordinated activities by large numbers of people called "gang stalking", often described as involving electronic harassment, the use of "psychotronic weapons", and other alleged mind control techniques. These have been reported by external observers as being examples of belief systems, as opposed to reports of objective phenomena. Some psychiatrists and psychologists say "Web sites that amplify reports of mind control and group stalking" are "an extreme community that may encourage delusional thinking" and represent "a dark side of social networking. They may reinforce the troubled thinking of the mentally ill and impede treatment."
In Davis (2001), he reported "very rare" instances of victimization that were alleged to be true but only falsified to gain attention, secondary or the specific purposes to exploit or manipulate others called "Falsely Alleged Victimization Syndrome" or FAVS.
Epidemiology and prevalence
According to a study conducted by Purcell, Pathé and Mullen (2002), 23% of the Australian population reported having been stalked.
Stieger, Burger and Schild conducted a survey in Austria, revealing a lifetime prevalence of 11% (women: 17%, men: 3%). Further results include: 86% of stalking victims were female, 81% of the stalkers were male. Women were mainly stalked by men (88%) while men were almost equally stalked by men and women (60% male stalkers). 19% of the stalking victims reported that they were still being stalked at the time of study participation (point prevalence rate: 2%). To 70% of the victims, the stalker was known, being a prior intimate partner in 40%, a friend or acquaintance in 23% and a colleague at work in 13% of cases. As a consequence, 72% of the victims reported having changed their lifestyle. 52% of former and ongoing stalking victims reported suffering from a currently impaired (pathological) psychological well-being. There was no significant difference between the incidence of stalking in rural and urban areas.
England and Wales
According to a paper by staff from the Fixated Threat Assessment Centre, a unit established to deal with people with fixations on public figures, 86% of a sample group of 100 people assessed by them appeared to them to suffer from psychotic illness; 57% of the sample group were subsequently admitted to hospital, and 26% treated in the community.
A similar retrospective study published in 2009 in Psychological Medicine based on a sample of threats to the Royal Family kept by the Metropolitan Police Service over a period of 15 years, suggested that 83.6% of the writers of these letters suffered from serious mental illness.
Tjaden and Thoennes reported a lifetime prevalence (being stalked) of 8% in women and 2% in males (depending on how strict the definition) in the National violence against women survey.
Laws on harassment and stalking
Every Australian state enacted laws prohibiting stalking during the 1990s, with Queensland being the first state to do so in 1994. The laws vary slightly from state to state, with Queensland's laws having the broadest scope, and South Australian laws the most restrictive. Punishments vary from a maximum of 10 years imprisonment in some states, to a fine for the lowest severity of stalking in others. Australian anti-stalking laws have some notable features. Unlike many US jurisdictions they do not require the victim to have felt fear or distress as a result of the behaviour, only that a reasonable person would have felt this way. In some states, the anti-stalking laws operate extra-territorially, meaning that an individual can be charged with stalking if either they or the victim are in the relevant state. Most Australian states provide the option of a restraining order in cases of stalking, breach of which is punishable as a criminal offence. There has been relatively little research into Australian court outcomes in stalking cases, although Freckelton (2001) found that in the state of Victoria, most stalkers received fines or community based dispositions.
Section 264 of the Criminal Code of Canada, titled "criminal harassment", addresses acts which are termed "stalking" in many other jurisdictions. The provisions of the section came into force in August 1993 with the intent of further strengthening laws protecting women. It is a hybrid offence, which may be punishable upon summary conviction or as an indictable offence, the latter of which may carry a prison term of up to ten years. Section 264 has withstood Charter challenges.
The Chief, Policing Services Program, for Statistics Canada has stated:
"... of the 10,756 incidents of criminal harassment reported to police in 2006, 1,429 of these involved more than one accused."
The German Criminal Code (§ 238 StGB) penalizes so-called Nachstellung, defined as threatening or seeking proximity or remote contact with another person and thus heavily influencing their lives, with up to three years of imprisonment. The definition is not strict and allows "similar behaviour" to also be classified as stalking.
Article 222-33-2 of the French Penal Code (added in 2002) penalizes "Moral harassment," which is: "Harassing another person by repeated conduct which is designed to or leads to a deterioration of his conditions of work liable to harm his rights and his dignity, to damage his physical or mental health or compromise his career prospects," with a year's imprisonment and a fine of EUR15,000.
In 2000, Japan enacted a national law to combat this behaviour, after the murder of Shiori Ino. Acts of stalking can be viewed as "interfering [with] the tranquility of others' lives" and are prohibited under petty offence laws.
In 2013, Indian Parliament made amendments to the Indian Penal Code, introducing stalking as an criminal offence. Stalking has been defined as a man following or contacting a woman, despite clear indication of disinterest by the woman, or monitoring her use of the Internet or electronic communication. A man committing the offence of stalking would be liable for imprisonment up to three years for the first offence, and shall also be liable to fine and for any subsequent conviction would be liable for imprisonment up to five years and with fine.
Following a series of high-profile incidents that came to public attention in the past years, a law was proposed in June 2008, and became effective in February 2009 (D.L. 23.02.2009 n. 11), making a criminal offence under the newly introduced art. 612 bis of the penal code, punishable with imprisonment ranging from six months up to five years, any "continuative harassing, threatening or persecuting behaviour which: (1) causes a state of anxiety and fear in the victim(s), or; (2) ingenerates within the victim(s) a motivated fear for his/her own safety or for the safety of relatives, kins [sic], or others tied to the victim him/herself by an affective relationship, or; (3), forces the victim(s) to change his/her living habits". If the perpetrator of the offense is a subject tied to the victim by kinship or that is or has been in the past involved in a relationship with the victim (i.e. current or former/divorced/split husband/wife or fiancée), and/or if the victim is a pregnant woman or a minor or a person with disabilities, the sanction can be elevated up to six years of incarceration.
- 1. He, who unlawfully systematically and deliberately intrudes someones personal invironment with the intention to enforce the other to do something, not to do something or to tolerate something or to frighten, will be punished because of stalking. Maximum imprisonment is three years or a fine of the forth category.
- 2. Prosecution will only happen when there is a complaint from him, against whom this crime has been committed (Antragsdelikt).
Article 208 of the 2014 Criminal Code states:-
Article 208: Harassment
1. The act of someone who repeatedly follows, without right or a legitimate interest, a person or his or her home, workplace or other place frequented, thus causing a state of fear.
2. Making phone calls or communication by means of transmission, which by frequent or continuous use, causes fear to a person. This shall be punished with imprisonment from one to three months or a fine if the case is not a more serious offence.
3. Criminal action is initiated by prior complaint of the victim.
Already before the enactment of the Protection from Harassment Act 1997, the Malicious Communications Act 1988 and the Telecommunications Act 1984 (now the Communications Act 2003) criminalised indecent, offensive or threatening phone calls and the sending of an indecent, offensive or threatening letter, electronic communication or other article to another person. Before 1997 no specific offence existed in England and Wales but in Scotland incidents could be dealt with under pre-existing law with life imprisonment available for the worst events.
England and Wales
In England and Wales, "harassment" was criminalised by the enactment of the Protection from Harassment Act 1997, which came into force on 16 June 1997. It makes it a criminal offence, punishable by up to six months' imprisonment, to pursue a course of conduct which amounts to harassment of another on two or more occasions. The court can also issue a restraining order, which carries a maximum punishment of five years' imprisonment if breached. In England and Wales, liability may arise in the event that the victim suffers either mental or physical harm as a result of being harassed (or slang term stalked) (see R. v. Constanza).
In Scotland, behaviour commonly described as stalking was already prosecuted as the Common Law offence of breach of the peace (not to be confused with the minor English offence of the same description) before the introduction of the statutory offence against s.39 of the Criminal Justice and Licensing (Scotland) Act 2010; either course can still be taken depending on the circumstances of each case. The statutory offence incurs a penalty of 12 months imprisonment or a fine upon summary conviction or a maximum of five years' imprisonment and/or a fine upon conviction on indictment; penalties for conviction for Breach of the Peace are limited only by the sentencing powers of the court thus a case remitted to the High Court can carry a sentence of imprisonment for life.
Provision is made under the Protection from Harassment Act against stalking to deal with the civil offence (i.e. the interference with the victim's personal rights), falling under the law of delict. Victims of stalking may sue for interdict against an alleged stalker, or a non-harassment order, breach of which is an offence.
The first state to criminalize stalking in the United States was California in 1990 as a result of numerous high-profile stalking cases in California, including the 1982 attempted murder of actress Theresa Saldana, the 1988 massacre by Richard Farley, the 1989 murder of actress Rebecca Schaeffer, and five Orange County stalking murders, also in 1989. The first anti-stalking law in the United States, California Penal Code Section 646.9, was developed and proposed by Municipal Court Judge John Watson of Orange County. Watson with U.S. Congressman Ed Royce introduced the law in 1990. Also in 1990, the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) began the United States' first Threat Management Unit, founded by LAPD Captain Robert Martin.
Within three years thereafter, every state in the United States followed suit to create the crime of stalking, under different names such as criminal harassment or criminal menace. The Driver's Privacy Protection Act (DPPA) was enacted in 1994 in response to numerous cases of a driver's information being abused for criminal activity, with prominent examples including the Saldana and Schaeffer stalking cases. The DPPA prohibits states from disclosing a driver's personal information without permission by State Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). As of 2011, stalking is an offense under section 120a of the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ). The law took effect on 1 October 2007.
"Stalking is a controversial crime" because a conviction requires no physical harm. The anti-stalking statute of Illinois is particularly controversial. It is particularly restrictive, by the standards of this type of legislation.
The Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence defines and criminalizes stalking, as well as other forms of violence against women. The Convention came into force on 1 August 2014.
Stalking has been a key plot element in a number of movies.
- In the made-for-TV movie Mad Bull (1977), Alex Karras—himself a sometime professional wrestler after his football career - played a "heel" wrestler trying to shed his kayfabe bad-guy image—only to be relentlessly stalked by a crazed fan mistaking the scripted and staged dramatics he saw in the ring to be reality and trying to kill the "evil" "Mad Bull".
- The Fan (1981 film) stars Lauren Bacall as a movie star being stalked by a deranged young man who considers himself a fan of hers but who is angered and turns violent when she ignores his impassioned love letters. The movie was released shortly after John Lennon was murdered by obsessed fan Mark David Chapman outside The Dakota, the famous New York City apartment building—ironically, also the real-life home of Lauren Bacall.
- Fifteen years later, Robert De Niro starred in another movie with the same title, The Fan (1996 film), about an obsessed sports fan who admires a baseball player (Wesley Snipes) - but who then stalks him and ultimately menaces him and his son.
De Niro starred in several additional films—all of them in collaboration with director Martin Scorsese - in which he played stalker-type characters.
- In Cape Fear (1991 film), De Niro plays vengeful ex-convict Max Cady, who stalks and terrorizes his former lawyer (Nick Nolte), whom he blames for his imprisonment, and the lawyer's family. The film was a re-make of Cape Fear (1962 film), in which Robert Mitchum played Max Cady and Gregory Peck played the lawyer. Both Mitchum and Peck, along with Martin Balsam, who also played a role in the original film, made cameo appearances in the 1991 re-make.
- De Niro also starred in Taxi Driver (1976), a film about troubled cab driver Travis Bickle, who is attracted to a pretty political campaign worker (Cybill Shepherd), who spurns his attentions after he takes her to a risque film; Bickle then stalks and plans to assassinate the senator she is campaigning for, but later becomes a hero when his violent impulses save a young prostitute from exploitation. The film was cited as a major influence on John Hinkley, Jr. the real-life would-be assassin of President Ronald Reagan. Hinkley, an obsessive fan of actress Jodie Foster, who had played the teen-aged hooker saved by Bickle, wanted to shoot Reagan to impress Foster the same way Bickle's character had wanted to shoot the senator in the film.
In a somewhat lighter vein:
- In The King of Comedy (1983 film)—a black comedy—De Niro, again under Scorsese's direction, played Rupert Pupkin, a would-be comedian who tries to ingratiate himself with a famous talk-show host (Jerry Lewis), even fantasizing that the two are friends, and when that fails, he teams up with another stalker (Sandra Bernhardt) to kidnap the celebrity in order to appear on television and break into big-time showbusiness.
- The stalking theme was also played more for laughs in What About Bob? (1991), a comedy starring Bill Murray as an unstable psychiatric patient whose desperate need to be close to his new therapist (Richard Dreyfus) -- even seeking out and meeting the doctor's family while they are away on vacation and ultimately charming them and winning them over to his cause—ends up literally driving the doctor crazy.
While most movie stalkers have been male, there have been notable female stalker characters as well, as if to prove the truth of William Congreve's famous line (frequently mistakenly attributed to William Shakespeare) that "hell hath no fury like a woman scorned":
- In Play Misty For Me (1971), a disc jockey (Clint Eastwood) has a one-night stand with a fan (Jessica Walter) but gets more than he bargained for when she begins trying to insert herself into his life and violently attacks anyone who gets in her way.
- In Fatal Attraction (1987), a married man (Michael Douglas) has what he thinks is just a short weekend fling with another woman (Glenn Close) - who stalks him, his wife and daughter when he tries to break the affair off.
- According to Hitchcock, The Stalkers Home Page is a website that "tries to be more pro-stalking than anti-stalking".
- The song "Redneck Crazy" by American country music singer Tyler Farr, is described by Yahr as an anthem for stalkers.
Published author Kathleen Hale has published at least two accounts of having stalked others.
- Writing in Thought Catalog in 2013, Hale described why and how she stalked and accosted a classmate (who'd falsely accused Hale's mother of molesting the accuser) when the girls were adolescents; Hale cyberstalked the girl, even after Hale had moved away. Hale's mother thanked her daughter for her support.
- The following year, Hale published an article in The Guardian that documented her having ignored her editors' advice not to reply and detailed her escalating response to a critic who had received a free review copy of Hale's book, No One Else Can Have You (2014). The reviewer panned the book, (in Hale's estimation) ridiculed Hale on Twitter, as well as "went on to attack those tweeting good reviews about Hale’s book while also referencing Harris’ negative review." Initially, Hale cyberstalked the critic: "I prowled Blythe’s Instagram and Twitter, I read her reviews, considered photos of her baked goods and watched from a distance as she got on her soapbox." She then obtained the reviewer’s home address, paid for a background check, and showed up at the woman's home. Hale confessed: "Before I could change my mind, I walked briskly down the street toward the Mazda parked in Judy’s driveway. A hooded sweatshirt with glittery pink lips across the chest lay on the passenger seat; in the back was a large folder full of what looked like insurance claims. I heard tyres on gravel and spun round to see a police van. For a second I thought I was going to be arrested, but it was passing by – just a drive through a quiet neighbourhood where the only thing suspicious was me." This generated substantial discussion about her Hale's "stalking" behavior, which as Nate Hoffelder, writing for The Digital Reader, pointed out: "Hale also expanded her stalking to include calling the reviewer at her day job." This recent instance has prompted substantial discussion about Hale's behavior, chastisement of both the author and those in the publishing industry who have enabled her, and prompted some Goodreads community members to either delete their reviews of the book or to boycott it in protest of Hale's having stalked (or bragged about stalking) the reviewer.
- National Center for Victims of Crime (Feb 2002). "Stalking Victimization". Office for Victims of Crime.
- Sheridan, L. P.; Blaauw, E. (2004). "Characteristics of False Stalking Reports". Criminal Justice and Behavior 31: 55–72. doi:10.1177/0093854803259235.
Given that stalking may often constitute no more than the targeted repetition of ostensibly ordinary or routine behavior, stalking is inherently difficult to define.
- Mullen, Paul E.; Pathé, Michele; Purcell, Rosemary (2000). Stalkers and Their Victims. Cambridge, United Kingdom [u.a.]: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-66950-2.
- Lawson-Cruttenden, 1996, "Is there a law against stalking?", New Law Journal/6736 pp. 418–420, cited in doi:10.1016/S1359-1789(02)00068-X
- Pathe, M.; Mullen, P. E. (1997). "The impact of stalkers on their victims". The British Journal of Psychiatry 170: 12–17. doi:10.1192/bjp.170.1.12. PMID 9068768.
- "Stalking". sexualharassmentsupport.org. Retrieved 20 October 2010.[dead link]
- Article Sec.(3)(a)(24), Violence Against Women and Department of Justice Reauthorization Act of 2005, Act No. H. R. 3402 of January 5, 2006 (in English). Retrieved on 12 February 2013. "STALKING.—The term 'stalking' means engaging in a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to—(A) fear for his or her safety or the safety of others; or (B) suffer substantial emotional distress."
- "CyberStalking: menaced on the Internet". sociosite.org. Retrieved 14 May 2013.
- Harris, Jessica (2000), The Protection from Harassment Act 1997 – An Evaluation of its Use and Effectiveness (PDF), Home Office Research, Development and Statistics Directorate, ISSN 1364-6540, retrieved 20 October 2010
- Abrams KM and Robinson GE (1 Sep 2008). "Comprehensive Treatment of Stalking Victims: Practical Steps That Help Ensure Safety". Psychiatric Times 25 (10).
- Purcell, R. "A Study of Women Who Stalk". American Journal of Psychiatry 158 (12): 2056–2060. doi:10.1176/appi.ajp.158.12.2056.
- "Types of stalkers". sexualharassmentsupport.org. Retrieved 20 October 2010.
- Baum, Katrina; Catalano, Shannon; Rand, Michael (January 2009). Stalking Victimization in the United States (PDF) (Report). United States Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics. Retrieved 28 April 2013.
- "SUPPLEMENTAL VICTIMIZATION SURVEY (SVS)" (PDF). United States Department of Justice. Archived from the original (PDF) on 28 August 2011.
- K. K. Kienlen, D. L. Birmingham, K. B. Solberg, J. T. O'Regan, and J. R. Meloy, "A comparative study of psychotic and nonpsychotic stalking", J Am Acad Psychiatry Law 25:3:317-334 (1997).
- Paul E. Mullen, Michele Pathé, Rosemary Purcell, and Geoffrey W. Stuart."A Study of Stalkers", Am J Psychiatry 156:1244–1249, August 1999.
- "National Victim Assistance Academy Textbook - Chapter 22 Special Topics - Section 4, Campus Crime and Victimization". Office for Victims of Crime. June 2002. Retrieved 28 August 2011.
- as a US example, see January 2009 Special Report from the United States Department of Justice titled "Stalking Victimization in the United States", NCJ 224527
- (See Mary Rowe, "People With Delusions or Quasi-Delusions Who 'Won't Let Go'," Journal of the University and College Ombuds Association, Occasional Paper, Number 1, Fall 1994.)
- Davis, J. A. (2001). Stalking Crimes and Victim Protection, CRC Press.[page needed]
- Sheridan, Davies, Boon, "The Course and Nature of Stalking: A Victim Perspective", Howard Journal of Criminal Justice, Volume 40, Number 3, August 2001, pp. 215–234.
- M Pathe, PE Mullen, R Purcell; Stalking: false claims of victimisation; British Journal of Psychiatry 174: 170-172 (1999)
- L. P. Sheridan, E. Blaauw; Characteristics of False Stalking Reports; Criminal Justice and Behavior, Vol. 31, No. 1, 55-72 (2004) doi:10.1177/0093854803259235 
- "After eight uncertain cases were excluded, the false reporting rate was judged to be 11.5%, with the majority of false victims suffering delusions (70%)." 
- Brown, S. A. (2008). "The Reality of Persecutory Beliefs: Base Rate Information for Clinicians". Ethical Human Psychology and Psychiatry 10 (3): 163–178. doi:10.1891/1559-43126.96.36.199.
Collapsing across two studies that examined 40 British and 18 Australian false reporters (as determined by evidence overwhelmingly against their claims), these individuals fell into the following categories: delusional (64%), factitious/attention seeking (15%), hypersensitivity due to previous stalking (12%), were the stalker themselves (7%), and malingering individuals (2%) (Purcell, Pathe, & Mullen, 2002; Sheridan & Blaauw, 2004).
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