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Outside Looking In: Stalkers and Their Victims. Doris Hall, Ph.D. California State University Bakersfield. Stalking (CA P.C. 646.9). Willfully, maliciously and repeatedly follows or harasses another person, Who makes a credible threat

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Outside looking in stalkers and their victims l.jpg

Outside Looking In: Stalkers and Their Victims

Doris Hall, Ph.D.

California State University Bakersfield

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Stalking (CA P.C. 646.9)

  • Willfully, maliciously and repeatedly follows or harasses another person,

  • Who makes a credible threat

  • With the intent to place that person in fear for their safety or the safety of their immediate family

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Post Intimate

  • Ex-Husbands

  • Ex-wives

  • Ex-boyfriends

  • Ex-girlfriends

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Prior Acquaintances

  • Acquaintances

  • Neighbors

  • Former friends

  • Co-workers

  • Students

  • Ex-patients

  • Relatives

  • Rapists

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  • Early on in a stalking situation

  • You know someone is following and/or harassing

  • But you do not know who it is (yet)

  • Most stalkers will let victim know who they are

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False Victimization (FV)

  • Very rare (2%)

  • Usually females

  • Turns out the victim is actually the perpetrator

  • Attention seeking behavior

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FVS Red Flags

  • Come forward gleefully

  • Wants to share all the details

  • Expresses little fright

  • Seems to be enjoying the attention

  • Encourages police/3rd parties to set up a “meeting” so they can talk to stalker

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FVS Red Flags

  • Many FVS have history of self mutilation

  • Suicide attempts

  • False claims often follow major life distressors or dramatic moments

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Stalker ContactSurveillance Techniques

  • Following

  • Drive bys

  • Appearing at workplace

  • Wiretap telephones

  • Home surveillance

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Stalker ContactHarassment

  • Letters

  • Phone calls

  • Threats

  • Unwanted gifts

  • Mail tampering

  • Cancel utilities

  • False police reports

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Stalker ContactProperty Damage

  • Slashed tires

  • Broken windshields

  • Poison outdoor plants

  • Cut up clothing

  • Break into home

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Stalker ContactViolence

  • Occurs in 30% of cases

  • Physical assault

  • Sexual assault

  • Kidnapping

  • Killing or injuring pets

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Protective Orders

  • Of the 44% of the respondents who obtained a restraining order

  • 20% rated them as effective in controlling stalking behavior

  • 80% rated them as ineffective

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Restraining Orders

Two schools of thought:

  • Yes, always get one


  • Maybe, it depends on the situation

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Restraining orders (cont).

  • “Law Enforcement Tools”

  • If a restraining order is violated it becomes a felony versus a misdemeanor.

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Castle Rock v. Gonzales (2005)

  • U.S. Supreme Court decision (7-2) held that respondent’s 14th amendment Due Process Clause was not violated by failure of police to enforce restraining order against her estranged husband

  • Tragic case in Colorado.

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Dramatic Moments

life events which are likely to humiliate or shame to perpetrator, stoke his fury, and increase his risk of violence.

  • Examples include but are not limited to:

  • stalkers first approach to and rejection by the target

  • Unacknowledged gifts, letters, etc.

  • Issuance of restraining order

  • First court appearance

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Tjaden findings

  • 1 in 12 females will be stalked during their lifetime (8-12% of population)

  • 1 in 45 men will be stalked during their lifetime (2-4% of population)

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  • 15% of the population will be stalked sometime during their lifetime

  • Australia has a less stringent definition of stalking than the U.S.

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U.S. College students

  • Several studies have found that approximately 27% of college students are stalked during their college years

  • Possible reasons for this finding

  • Developmental deficits in social skills

  • Structure of college life

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Routine Activities Theory

  • Three elements:

  • Motivated offender

  • Suitable target

  • Lack of capable guardianship

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  • When compared to other criminals, stalkers tend to be:

  • Older

  • Higher IQ

  • More educated

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Demographic Characteristics of Stalkers

  • Male (75%-87%)

  • Mid to late 30s

  • Average or above average intellectual functioning

  • High School or above educational attainment

  • History of failed intimate relationships

  • Immigration may be a risk factor (10%)

  • Prior psychiatric history

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Zona’s Typology

  • Erotomania

  • AKA Old Maid’s Syndrome

  • Delusional belief that another person, usually of a higher status, is in love with them

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Zona’s TypologyErotomania

  • Subtype: Male Erotomanic

  • Usually from countries where the genders are kept separate.

  • Example Tarasoff v. U.C. Berkeley

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Zona’s TypologyErotomania

  • Athena Rolando broke into Brad Pitts home

  • Wore his clothes, slept in his bed, fed his dogs

  • What did she get?

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Zona’s TypologyAthena

  • Two days in jail

  • 36 months probation

  • 15 days graffiti removal

  • 3 years psychological counseling

  • 100 yards restraining order

  • And….

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Zona’s TypologyAthena (continued)

  • A guest on the Leeza Gibbons Show

  • Howard Stern Show

  • And Inside Edition

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Zona’s TypologyLove Obessional

  • Person knows that the other person is not in love with them…yet…

  • Example John Hinckley, Jr.’s obsession with Jodie Foster

  • This type of stalker might be the one that flattens your tire and then offers to fix it.

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Zona’s TypologySimple Obsession

  • Basically everyone else.

  • Includes all

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Stalker TypologyBoone & Sheridan

  • A law enforcement perspective

  • Developed by a profiler in England

  • N=124

  • Four types

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Boone & SheridanExpartner Harassment/Stalking

  • 50%

  • Overt threats

  • Hostile

  • Recruits family & friends

  • High risk for violence

  • Victim should avoid perpetrator

  • May want to consider relocating

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Boone & SheridanInfatuation Harassment

  • 19%

  • Target is “beloved”

  • Non-malicious ruses

  • Low levels of danger

  • Perpetrator in teens to mid-life

  • Police need to be sympathetic, but explain victim is not interested

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Boone & SheridanSadistic Stalker

  • 13%

  • Victim seen as prey

  • Initially low level acquaintance

  • Communications blend of love and threats

  • Take very seriously

  • Very difficult to stop this stalker

  • Do not give victim false hope

  • Victim should move to secret location & change identity

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Boone & SheridanDelusional Fixation Stalking

  • 15%

  • Incoherent, yet fixated

  • High risk for physical and/or sexual violence

  • Borderline personality

  • Not responsive to rejection

  • Protective orders do not deter

  • Refer to forensic psychologist

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Mullen & Pathe TypologyRejected

  • Desire for reconciliation

  • Stalking is substitute for lost relationship

  • Very intrusive & persistent

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Mullen & Pathe TypologyIntimacy Seeker

  • Object is their true love

  • Star stalkers

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Mullen & Pathe TypologyIncompetent

  • Intellectually limited

  • Short duration

  • Serial stalker

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Mullen & Pathe TypologyResentful

  • Aggrieved workers

  • Feels humiliated

  • Vendetta for specific person

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Mullen & Pathe TypologyPredatory

  • Exclusively male

  • Physical and sexual assault

  • Often serial killers

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Spitzberg’s Obsession Relational Intrusion

  • Repeated and unwanted pursuit and invasion of one’s sense of physical or symbolic privacy by another person, either stranger or acquaintance, who desires and/or presumes an intimate relationship

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Spitzberg’s ORI

  • Even mild forms are viewed as moderately threatening

  • Behaviors are on a continuum

  • At some point they can cross over into stalking behavior

  • Discusses the “Gray Area” of when behavior becomes stalking

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Spitzberg’s ORI

  • Four different motives

  • “Lovers” seek to care for and cherish target

  • “Haters” seek to harm, scare, intimidate, destroy or seek revenge

  • “Controllers” seek to plan, manipulate and contain or restrain

  • “Expressers” display their feelings and inner urges as they occur without cognitive editing

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Conviction rate of stalkers

  • Approximately 50% of stalking victims report the crime to the police

  • 13% of female victims report conviction of stalker versus 9% of male victims

  • If you include other crimes committed by stalker (but not the actual crime of stalking) conviction rates increase to:

  • 24% for female victims and 19% for male victims

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DeBecker’s JACA

  • JACA is a prediction about violence

  • Justification for violence

  • Alternatives to violence

  • Consequences of violence

  • Ability to follow through on the violence

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Risk Management

  • Critical part of risk management is frequent and effective communication.

  • If the police or employer takes action which might anger or embarrass the stalker

  • Target needs to be advised or the stalking victim is put at further risk

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Red flags (continued)

  • ingratiation with the target’s co-workers or family members

  • Chronic lying or excuse making

  • Repeat questioning about how the target spends time and with whom

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Stalking Red Flags

  • Chronic privacy intrusions at work or at home

  • A need for the stalker to be physically close and to frequently touch the target

  • Prolonged staring at the target without verbalization

  • Repeat and unwanted gift giving

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DeBecker says:

  • “No matter what you may have assumed till now, and no matter for what reason you assumed it, I have no romantic interest in you whatsoever. I never will. I expect that knowing this, you’ll put your attention elsewhere, which I understand, because that is what I intend to do.”

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Psychosocial Impact on Stalking Victims

  • Anxiety (83%)

  • Sleep disturbances (74%)

  • Overwhelming Powerlessness (75%)

  • Flashbacks/Intrusive recollections (55%)

  • Fatigue (55%)

  • Weight fluctuation (48%)

  • Headaches (47%)

  • Reduced social outings (70%)

  • Reduction in work/school attendance (53%)

  • Relocation (39%)

  • Change in workplace, school, or career (37%)

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Risk Management Strategies for Victims

  • Document, document, document

  • Maintain log of all contact

  • Change daily schedule and routes

  • Alert trusted neighbors, coworkers, family and friends

  • Cease all contact with stalker

  • Code word on all utilities

  • Have a safety plan

  • Carry a disposal camera and a video camera