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Legal Help-Seeking Experiences of Former Intimate-Stalking Victims

NCJ Number
Criminal Justice Policy Review Volume: 12 Issue: 2 Dated: June 2001 Pages: 91-112
Date Published
22 pages

This study examined stalking victims' experiences in the legal system.


Data for this study were gathered through extensive interviews with 187 women who were stalked by former intimate partners. Most victims initially attempted to handle the situation themselves, the majority ultimately sought assistance from the legal system. Logistic regression analyses examined predictors of legal help seeking. Predictors of seeking any type of legal help, filing for a protection from abuse order or temporary restraining order, and/or seeking police assistance included age (older women were more likely to seek help), race (white women were most likely to seek assistance), the presence of threats of violence, violent acts by the stalker, and length of stalking. Likert-type scale ratings by victims of the police, prosecutors', and judges' handling of their cases revealed greatest satisfaction with judges, followed by prosecutors. The study suggests ways in which the system can better respond to the needs of stalking victims. Policy recommendations include greater criminal justice responsiveness to victims of stalking and more coordinated efforts between the police and courts. Tables, notes, references

Date Published: January 1, 2001