In this brief instructional video – one in a series of training videos on stalking sponsored by the Stalking Prevention, Awareness, and Resource Center (SPARC) – a prosecutor identifies obstacles prosecutors most often encounter in stalking cases.
Commentary on this issue is offered by Jane Anderson, a prosecutor and Attorney Advisor for AEquitas, a nonprofit organization with the mission of improving access to and quality of justice in gender-based violence and human trafficking cases. She first discusses the common public conception of a stalker as a person with mental issues who becomes obsessed with a popular public figure to the point of obsessively tracking her/his activities and perhaps attempting to force intimate contact or friendship bonds through devious or dangerous behaviors. Anderson notes that in the public mind, stalking does not occur between two people who are living together in an intimate relationship. This common view of stalking complicates including stalking as an aspect of abusive behavior in a cohabiting relationship. Anderson notes that the public generally does not view stalking as a crime unless one partner ends the cohabiting relationship and the other partner begins harassing and invading the privacy of the former intimate partner. These common public perceptions of stalking make it difficult for prosecutors to press charges of stalking in the context of an abusive interaction between intimate partners living together.