What Does Stalking Look Like by tyndale

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									                                STALKING IN LATER LIFE

              INFORMATION FOR LAW ENFORCEMENT & OTHERS

Stalking is a pattern of unwanted contact with the purpose to threaten, harass or cause fear
in an individual. Stalking may seem harmless at first, but through repeated and more frequent
contacts, the behavior is threatening. It is not a single, easily identifiable criminal act like
assault, robbery, burglary but often a mix of criminal and non-criminal behavior.

A study reviewing data from the National Violence Against Women Survey found that older
adults were almost as likely as younger people to be stalked. The study also found:
   •    Women age 55 and older are more likely than men of the same age to be stalked
   •    Most often the stalker is someone known to the victim and often occurs as part of
        domestic violence in later life (Jasinski and Dietz, 2003)

Many victims who are older or have a disability may not be believed if they report stalking,
particularly if the victim has dementia or psychiatric disabilities. Others may not be believed
because the stalker is frail or has a disability. Support from an advocate can be helpful for
victims while they make decisions on how to protect themselves.


COMMON STALKING BEHAVIORS BY PERPETRATORS
  • Harassing phone calls
  • Trespassing – victim’s home, garage, car
  • Vandalizing the victim’s home or car
  • Giving unwanted gifts, messages, emails
  • Following the victim
  • Showing up at a victim’s home, business, or other places frequented by victim
  • Using the victim’s name illegally or using private information to buy items or order
       products
  • Putting the victim’s name or private information on the internet or in public places
  • Threatening or harming pets




NCALL, 2007
EFFECTS ON THE VICTIM
   • Fear of not being believed
   • Fear of what the stalker will do
   • Feeling vulnerable and unsafe
   • Not knowing whom to trust
   • Stress, nervousness, anxiety, depression
   • Eating, sleeping issues
   • Hyper-vigilance
   • Frustrated or isolated because others do not understand why they are afraid

SUGGESTIONS FOR LAW ENFORCEMENT & OTHERS WANTING TO HELP
WHEN TALKING TO THE VICTIM
      Be aware of your preconceived notions; i.e. stalking doesn’t happen to older victims
      Believe the victim
      Do not under estimate the potential for harm
      Error on the side of victim safety
      Keep ongoing contact with the victim (with victim’s permission)
      Encourage the victim to do a professional safety plan with an advocate
      Encourage victim to report stalking; work with an advocate who can provide emotional
      and follow-up support for the victim
      Work with other agencies to investigate thoroughly and provide support for the victim

POSSIBLE CRIMES TO CONSIDER
      Trespassing
      Harassment
      Threats (consider in person, electronic, mail, phone etc.)
      TRO violations
      Phone tapping
      Vandalism
      Cruelty to animals
      Thefts




NCALL, 2007
         Arson
         Physical/sexual assault


CORROBORATION AND DOCUMENTATION
In addition to basic evidence preservation, officers will need to corroborate the victim’s state
of mind. Find out what the victim has done in response to stalker activities, consider such
thing as:

         Changes made in residence and/or workplace
         Changes to phone numbers and/or email addresses
         Reports made to security personnel at victim’s work
         Changes victim has made in their schedule and/or routines
         Reports or stories victim has told to family, friends, and workmates about what is
         happening
         Purchases made by victim of items for protection such as pepper spray, an alarm
         system, a weapon and/or self defense classes

Investigators should obtain as much information about the stalker as possible. Look for a
history of stalking behavior or other criminal activity, mental illness or drug/alcohol abuse.
Gather and preserve as much evidence as possible, such as voice messages; emails, letters
or notes; unwanted gifts to victim and photos of vandalism. Look for evidence in suspects
possession such as items belonging to victim; photographs or hand drawings of victim; a
diary, log or writings about victim; plus any equipment stalker may have used for stalking
purposes. (Khalil, et,al 2004)

Resources:
Khalil, Fiona (2004), Wayne Maxey and Cynthia Forsythe. “Stalking: A Case Study of Murder – What cops can do to prevent it.” Law
Enforcement Quarterly. 33.1, 5-12.

Jasinski, Jana L and Tracy L. Dietz (2003). “Domestic Violence and Stalking Among Older Adults: An Assessment of Risk Markers.”
Journal of Elder Abuse & Neglect, 12.1, 3-18.

Stalking Resource Center, A Project of the National Center for Victims of Crime
www.ncvc.org/src/main.aspx?dbID=DB_ncvc696
For Victim Assistance, please call 1-800-FYI-CALL

National Clearinghouse on Abuse in Later Life (NCALL), A Project of the Wisconsin Coalition Against Domestic Violence (WCADV)
www.ncall.us; 608.255-0539




NCALL, 2007

								
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