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Profiling the Stalker

Profiling the Stalker

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Profiling the Stalker

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  1. Profiling the Stalker Dr Shaunagh Foy

  2. From a stalking victim support forum “it's like damned if you do, damned if you don't I tried to explain to my friends that when I see and ignore him, he escalates....if I see and react to him in a negative way, he escalates so, I just avoid him seeing me all together, but still, if he doesn't see me, he works harder to track down when I come and go so he can "see" in other words he escalates at least he's calmed down with the vandalism...” Profiling the Stalker

  3. Interesting Features • Different types • Dangerousness • Psychological process • Escalation

  4. Ambush their victim Phone repeatedly (hang-ups) Pursue or follow their target Make obscene phone calls Make threatening phone calls Display weapons Trespass Vandalise property Assume targets identity online Assume another’s identity online Send numerous letters Send numerous emails Deliver unwanted gifts Deliver repulsive gifts Constrain or confine target Threaten suicide Harm the target Harm family members Harm a pet Recruit others to help Stalking Behaviours Stalking behaviours can be diverse Profiling the Stalker

  5. Perpetrator Characteristics • Usually male • In his (her) early 30s or 40s • Employed, but high unemployment (22%) is common • Single or separated (65%) • Knows their target (66%) • Suffering from a mental disorder or personality disorder (80%) Profiling the Stalker

  6. Perpetrator Characteristics • The stalker harasses the target for less than one month (55%) • The stalker harasses the target between 1 and 6 months (23%) • The stalker threatens his (her) target (29%), and damages property (23%). • 73% of those who are attacked had been warned by the stalker • Stalkers will murder approximately 2% of victims Profiling the Stalker

  7. Overview of topicsTypologiesEx-intimate StalkersAcquaintance StalkersStranger StalkersDangerousnessPsychology of the StalkerWomen who stalk

  8. Typologies

  9. Types of Typologies Typologies can be based upon • characteristics of the victim • relationship between the stalker and the victim • motivations of the stalker • psychological characteristics of the stalkers Profiling the Stalker

  10. Stalker-Victim Relationship (British Crime Survey) Profiling the Stalker

  11. Type of Obsession Profiling the Stalker

  12. Type of Motivation Profiling the Stalker

  13. Ex-intimate StalkersAcquaintance StalkersStranger Stalkers

  14. Ex-Intimate StalkersAcquaintance StalkersStranger Stalkers

  15. Ex-intimate Stalking • Average to above average intelligence • Dependant personalities • Controlling personalities • Often Narcissistic • Antisocial personality type (“mean streak”) • The time of break up is a dangerous time • Most stalkers don't have any relationship outside the one they are trying to re-establish • Violent partners try to maintain control

  16. Holly GrahamStar Casino, Sydney

  17. Ex-Intimate Stalking Shaun and Jennifer Vordermann • Murdered at 24 years by her husband on August 18th, 2008 • Shaun was furious with her because she had not responded to the hundreds of text messages on the Saturday. • Text messages to victims cousin • The messages started with a polite invitation to come out for a bonfire. Her cousin declined. • "Are you sure? I'm burning all of Jenni'sstuff“ • "Wow, shoes burn faster than you'd think" • "click click boom” Profiling the Stalker

  18. Ex-Intimate Stalking Shaun and Jennifer Vordermann • "His personality took a complete 180 after they got married. He used to be quiet, shy and a polite guy. The whole family liked him.“ (Melissa – Jennifer’s cousin) • My husband keeps calling me and telling me he's going to kill himself. ... I'm afraid to go there. ... He's crazy. ... I don't know what's going to happen ... because then I get freaked out like I'm going to be hurt ... but he does like stalk me at work." Profiling the Stalker

  19. Ex-intimate StalkersAcquaintance StalkersStranger Stalkers

  20. Acquaintance Stalking

  21. Acquaintance Stalking

  22. Ex-intimate StalkersAcquaintance StalkersStranger Stalkers

  23. Profiling the Stalker

  24. Profiling the Stalker

  25. She came into my life in the right moment. She was brilliant, pretty, outrageous, her innocence impressed me. She turned into a goddess for me, an idol. Since then, I turned an atheist, I only adored her. Robert John Bardo Profiling the Stalker

  26. Anna Kournikova Michael Douglas and his wife Catherine Zeta-Jones George Harrison Uma Thurman Jodie Foster Madonna David Letterman Stranger Stalkers Other celebrity victims Profiling the Stalker

  27. DangerousnessPsychology of the StalkerWomen who Stalk

  28. DangerousnessPsychology of the StalkerWomen who Stalk

  29. People who stalk are often dangerous • They are obsessive, often extremely so. • Their behaviours often escalate to violence • They are covert in their operating • They are mentally unstable Profiling the Stalker

  30. Serious violence might also be associatedwith shorter duration of stalking.According to the National Center for Victims of Crime: 76% of female murder victims and 85% of attempted murder victims were stalked by their intimate partners during the year previously Profiling the Stalker

  31. Relationship-specific factors Angry-jealous emotional reactions to a break-up Anger Jealousy Obsessiveness Who ends the relationship? Being the recipient of the break-up Quality of the relationship Higher rates of dissatisfaction Profiling the Stalker

  32. The most violent stalker • Prior intimate relationship • Presence of threats • Substance abuse • Personality disorder • History of violent behaviour • Absence of a psychotic disorder • Revenge motivation • Criminal history Profiling the Stalker

  33. DangerousnessPsychology of the StalkerWomen who Stalk

  34. The stalker might have a history of: Harsh parental discipline Unpredictable or chaotic parental relationships A negative sense of self Easily angered within the context of seeking control Profiling the Stalker

  35. Motivation is Complex Profiling the Stalker

  36. The stalker lives out a self-fulfilling prophecy Profiling the Stalker

  37. DangerousnessPsychology of the StalkerWomen who Stalk

  38. Women who stalk • About 12% of stalking cases are perpetrated by women • They are usually single • Employed (35% were unemployed) • 95% of women stalkers target someone previously known to them. • 40% were from professional contacts (psychologists, GP, teachers, legal professionals). • This is significantly different from males. Profiling the Stalker

  39. Women who stalk • No difference in age or education • Less likely to have a criminal record • Lower rates of substance abuse • No difference in psychiatric disturbance • The duration of stalking was the same for males and females • The frequency of violence was also the same • Females are much more likely to target professional contacts • Females are more likely to pursue the same gender (50%) • Women are seeking intimacy with their victim Profiling the Stalker

  40. Women who stalk • Women are more likely to assault other women • Women and men receive the same volume of verbal threats of violence • Damage to cars, and obscene graffiti are common • Women are just as intrusive as men • Favour telephone calls (over following) Profiling the Stalker

  41. Summary

  42. Summary • Most stalkers might be lonely and socially incompetent, but all have the capacity to frighten and distress their victims. • Stalkers experience complex emotions, which makes them potentially dangerous, and ultimately impossible to predict. • Anyone can be stalked • A stalker will never accept the responsibility for his actions, it’s always someone else’s fault Profiling the Stalker

  43. We are still defining terms We are still learning • Stalking laws have proved difficult to draft. All jurisdictions have adopted different approaches and have kept them under review. • What is stalking? • What is violence? • Our knowledge is limited. • Time • Samples • Forensic settings (psych hospitals) • Police files • Self-referred and self-report (victim) Profiling the Stalker

  44. Context is Everything Profiling the Stalker

  45. Are there early warning signs? Too good to be true Intense romance (swift marriage proposals) “We are destined to be together” “We are spiritually connected” View stressful circumstances as personally threatening Making their partner doubt themselves

  46. Some other possible indicators • Has an obsessive personality • Above average intelligence • No or few personal relationships • Lack of embarrassment or discomfort at actions • Low self esteem • Has a mean streak Profiling the Stalker

  47. Tips on what to do if you are being stalked • Be clear and concise. Don't make excuses or try to spare their feelings. • Don't have any contact with the stalker, because any contact, even negative contact, might be re-interpreted by the stalker. Ignore

  48. Recommended Books

  49. Websites Profiling the Stalker

  50. Key References • Sheridan, L. and Davies, G.M. (2001c). Violence and the prior victim-stalker relationship. Criminal Behaviour and Mental Health, 11, 102-116. 1998 British Crime Survey • Rosenfeld, B. (2000 ) Assessment and treatment of obsessional harassment. Aggression and Violent Behavior , 5 , 529 –549. • Mullen, P. E. & Pathé, M. (2001) Stalking. Crime and Justice , in press. • Mullen, P. E., Pathé, M., Purcell, R., et al (1999 ) A study of stalkers. American Journal of Psychiatry , 156, 1244 –1249. • Mullen, P. E., Pathé, M. & Purcell, R., (2000) Stalkers and their Victims . Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. • Meloy, J. R. (1998) The psychology of stalking. In The Psychology of Stalking: Clinical and Forensic Perspectives (ed. J. R. Meloy), pp. 2–23. San Diego, CA: Academic Press. • Harmon, R. B., Rosner, R. & Owens, H. (1998 ) Sex and violence in a forensic population of obsessional harassers. Psychology, Public Policy, and Law , 4 , 236 –249. • Emerson, R. M., Ferris, K. O. & Gardner, C. B. (1998 ) On being stalked. Social Problems , 45 , 289 –314.