U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

Understanding Intimate Partner Stalking: Implications For Offering Victim Services

NCJ Number
Date Published
May 2009
92 pages
Eighty-two women who had experienced stalking by a current or former intimate partner were interviewed at the beginning of the study and monthly over the next 12 months, in order to inquire about various aspects of their stalking experience and the effectiveness of various interventions.
The most commonly reported stalking behaviors were related to the stalker trying to obtain information about the victim from a family member, friend, or acquaintance, as well as making unwanted phone calls to the victim; however, an overwhelming majority of participants experienced a combination of stalking behaviors. The trajectory of stalking behavior differed significantly among the victims. There was a statistically significant variation among the women in the rate of change of their perceived safety over the course of the study; however the mean level of feelings of distress decreased significantly over time for the sample. There was a significant decline over time in the number of days the women suffered from poor mental health. Perhaps the decline in distress and the increase in perceived safety over time were related to another finding, i.e., that the stalking frequency decreased over time. Nearly all of the women reported having an order of protection operative at least once during the study period. A slight majority reported contacting the police at least once during the study period, and two-thirds indicated they had a case in court at one or more points during the study. In most cases, criminal justice agencies took no action, referred the victim to court services, or suggested obtaining a protection order. Less than half of the women reported seeking or receiving help from either a victim advocate or counselor during the study. There was no consistently effective intervention across the study period. Policy implications are drawn. 19 tables, 3 figures, 46-item bibliography, and appended stalking behaviors and interview formats for intake, baseline, and monthly

Date Published: May 1, 2009