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Stalking: Its Role in Serious Domestic Violence Cases

NCJ Number
187446
Author(s)
Patricia Tjaden Ph.D.; Nancy Thoennes Ph.D.
Date Published
January 2001
Length
92 pages
Annotation
This study presents the methodology and findings of a study that examined the role of stalking in domestic violence crime reports generated by the Colorado Springs Police Department (CSPD).
Abstract
The study consisted of a review of 1,785 domestic-violence crime reports generated by the CSPD during April-September 1998. On-site data collectors reviewed case records associated with these reports and extracted information from them into a computerized data file. Bivariate and multivariate analyses were used to determine the prevalence of stalking allegations in domestic-violence crime reports; risk factors associated with domestic-violence stalking; the frequency with which suspects of initiate-partner stalking are charged with stalking; differences in presenting conditions in domestic-violence crime reports with and without stalking allegations; and differences in law enforcement outcomes in domestic-violence crime reports with and without stalking allegations. The study found that one in six (16.5 percent) of the domestic-violence crime reports contained evidence that the suspect stalked the victim. Female victims were significantly more likely than male victims to allege stalking by their partners (18.3 percent versus 10.5 percent), and most stalkers were former rather than current intimates. Reports with stalking allegations were significantly less likely to mention physical abuse or victim injury in the presenting condition, to involve victims and suspects who were using alcohol at the time of the report, and to involve households with children. Victims who alleged stalking by their partners were significantly less likely than victims who did not allege stalking to be emotionally distraught at the time of the report, but significantly more likely to have an active restraining order against the suspect and to request notification of further action in the case. Police were significantly less likely to make an arrest or issue a companion summons if the victim alleged stalking. Police almost never charged domestic-violence stalking suspects with stalking, preferring instead to charge them with harassment or violation of a restraining order. 16 exhibits, 29 notes, and appended coding instrument

Date Published: January 1, 2001