Stalking 101: Understanding the lethality of stalking in today s world

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1 Stalking 101: Understanding the lethality of stalking in today s world

2 Objectives Participants will be able to recognize the dynamics of stalking and the its impact on victims Participants will understand and be able to recognize how our culture normalizes stalking. Participants will gain knowledge of current stalking laws and stalking in the criminal justice system. Participants will gain knowledge, strategies, and resources for survivors.

3 Stalking in Popular Culture

4

5 How many people are stalked in the United States each year? A. 850,000 B. 1.2 million C. 2 million D. 7 million 7 million 1 in 7 women are stalked in their lifetime 1 in 18 men are stalking in their lifetime

6 The majority of stalking victims are stalked by someone they know. True Or False True 66% of female victims and 41% of male victims are stalked by an intimate partner.

7 The majority of stalkers are women. True Or False False 87% of stalkers are men. BUT THE MAJORITY OF MEN ARE NOT STALKERS

8 The average duration of stalking is: A. 6 months B. 3 months C. 1.8 years D. 5 years 1.8 years 11 % of stalking victims have been stalked for 5 years or more. 46% of stalking victims receive at least one unwanted contact a week.

9 What percentage of women who are killed by an intimate partner were also stalked by that partner? A. 24% B. 76% C. 35% D. 52% 76% 54% of femicide victims reported stalking to the police before they were killed by their stalkers.

10 How many states classify stalking as a felony on the first offense? A. More than ½ B. Less than 1/3 C. More than 1/3 D. All 50 states Less than 1/3 Stalking is a crime in ALL 50 STATES. More than ½ of the states classify stalking as a felony upon second or subsequent offense.

11 Legal Definition Harassing or threatening behavior engaged in repeatedly Generally defined as a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to fear bodily injury Unlike other crimes, stalking is a series of actions that, when taken individually, may be perfectly legal.

12 Context is Critical Can you threaten someone without using any words? Can non-criminal acts be stalking? Examples: Sending an Giving a Gift Texting Surprise Visits

13 Point in Intimate Relationship When Stalking of Women Occurs After relationship ends 43% Before relationship ends 21% Before & after relationship ends 36%

14 TN Stalking Laws: Criminal Stalking (class A Misdemeanor) Aggravated Stalking (class E Felony) Deadly weapon, victim less that 18, previous stalking conviction within 7 years, credible threat to victim/ dependent / parent, violated OP Especially Aggravated Stalking (class C felony) Prior stalking/ aggravated stalking offense, causes serious bodily injury to victim/ dependent/ parent

15 Stalking is Rarely Charged Between 5% and 16% of stalking cases are actually charged as stalking when the police already have the information they need to charge Why? Stalking is a difficult crime to work with Other charges seem more expedient Resource scarcity Systemic barrier in the rest of the criminal justice system

16 Orders of Protection in TN Stalking victims in Tennessee are eligible for orders of protection Tenn. Code Ann (2012) includes in its definition stalking victim stalking victim : means any person, regardless or the relationship with their perpetrator, who has been subjected to, threaded with, or placed far of the offense stalking.

17 Orders of Protection 69% of women and 81% of men what have obtained a protective order against a stalker say the order has been violence. (Stalking in America, 1998) In 21% of cases, violence and stalking escalated after the protective order is issued. (Trauma, Violence & Abuse, 2002) Only 44% of protective order violations result in arrest and the likelihood o arrest decreases as the number of violations increases. (criminal Justice & Behavior, 2000)

18 Orders of Protection Research suggest that most victims seek order of protection only after experiencing: Physical Assault threats of harm or death Sexual abuse Threats with a weapon Stalking and harassment; or Assaults on their children Studies also show that victims usually seek protection order only after long exposure to abuse.

19 Types of Stalking Erotomania Hold a delusional belief (paranoid disorder) that they are loved by their target Target is a well-known person (celebrity, student-leader, acclaimed athlete) Love Obsession No previous personal relationship Want to live out their fantasy with their victim Simple Obsession Previous or current personal or romantic relationship Includes all domestic violence cases Rejection often triggers this form of stalking Turn to threats and violence as a means of control

20 Intimate Partner Stalking & Risk to Victims More likely to physically approach victim More insulting, interfering, and threatening More likely to use weapons More likely to re-offend Behaviors more likely to escalate quickly

21 Types of Stalking Cyberstalking Often another phase in an overall stalking pattern, or its regular staking behavior using new technological tools. Internet and technology offer an electronic curtain behind whit the stalker can hide with terrorizing the victims Physical proximity to the victim is not an issues, as a cyberstalker can be located on the other side of the work, across the country, or across the street. The inability to identify the source of he harassment or threats is one of the most ominous aspects of the crime for a cyberstalking victim Cyberstalking can be just as dangerous and threatening as physical stalking.

22 Impact on Victims Mental/Emotional Impact: 80% of victims reported increase anxiety 30% of victims developed PTSD 25% of victims considered or attempted suicide Afraid of: 46% not knowing what would happen next 29% behavior would never stop 9% death National Crime Victimization Survey 2009

23 Financial Impact Impact on Victims About 3 out of 10 stalking victims accrued out-of-pocket costs for things such as attorney fees, damage to property, child care costs, moving expenses, or changing phone numbers 26% reported they lost time from work 7% were never able to return to their jobs 11% of women relocate

24 The Victim Blaming Trap Stalking/cyberstalking does not occur because you put information online. It is the result of someone using that information in a harmful and criminal way. It is important to be aware of what information about you is accessible online It is very easy to victim blame in a cyberstalking situation where the victim has information online. How can we avoid doing this?

25 Safety Planning Combination of suggestion, plans, responses to help victims reduce their risk of harm Must be continuous and flexible They must consider life generated risk, i.e. poverty, housing, childcare etc. It s a process not a product

26 Arrests and Prosecution of Stalkers Three factors can have a direct impact on what charges a prosecutor is able to bring before a court: 1. The decisions police officers make at the crime scene 2. What information they record 3. The demeanor of the victims Tjaden, P., & Thoennes, N. (2001). Stalking: Its role in serious domestic violence cases. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice, National Institute of Justice.

27 Stalking Challenges 1. Stalking is not a single, obvious, easily identifiable criminal act like assault, robbery, burglary, and other crimes 2. Impact of stalking on the victim the fear it induces is a key component of its legal definition 3. Stalking behaviors are complex, varied, and unpredictable 4. In the context of domestic violence, investigation of stalking incidents may easily be eclipsed by the cruder manifestations of abuse. 5. Effective investigations in stalking cases depends on gathering information from many sources and seeing the big picture.

28 Stalking Challenges 6. Stalker may commit criminal acts in different locations and may be under investigation in multiple jurisdictions. 7. Stalkers are not easily deterred. 8. Victim safety is always the priority. 9. A victim may choose privacy over justice and that is her/ his right.

29 Working With Stalking Victims Safety Planning Documentation Advocacy Support

30 Understanding Victim Reactions Moving inward: ignoring, minimizing, or denying the stalking Moving outward: engage in social support, engage legal/ law enforcement input Moving away: attempt to end the relationship, distance themselves, restrict accessibility, detach Moving toward/with: problem solving negotiation, accept promises, diminish seriousness of situation, bargain Moving against: issues verbal warnings/ threats, build a legal case, attempt to deter future behavior

31 Advocacy Allow victims to tell story Telling the story allows survivor to remember more details and put all the pieces in place Telling the story facilitates the transition from traumatic memory to day-to-day memory Provide validation Validation is the process by which service providers teach victims that most reactions to traumatic events are normal Validation should reinforce that most reactions of anger, fear, frustration, guilt, and grief are natural and common

32 Safety Plan: What to include What is known about the stalker People who might help How to improve safety in victim s environment What to do in case of emergency Technology safety Stalking log

33 Documentation

34 Apple App StopaStalker

35

36 Activity Time!

37 Questions What are the pressing issues? Should Jane call the police? As an advocate, how could you help Jane? What are some barriers in Jane s situation? What questions might you ask in order to develop a safety plan with Jane?

38

39 Things to Remember: Stalking behaviors are complex and varied; stalking responses must be also Stalkers are not easily deterred and stalking behaviors and threats must be evaluated within context Ensuring victim safety is difficult and intervention must be coordinated and flexible

40 Katie Czerwinski, BSW Program Specialist ext. 313

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