Harm associated with stalking victimization



Publication Details

Thomas, S. DM., Purcell, R., Pathe, M. & Mullen, P. E. (2008). Harm associated with stalking victimization. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, 42 (9), 800-806.


Objective: The purpose of the present study was to determine the frequency at which assault and attempted assault occur as outcomes among stalking victims, and to explore the common characteristics of those cases in which the victims report these harmful outcomes as a result of the stalking behaviour. Method: A sample of 3700 men and women randomly selected from the electoral roll were sent a postal questionnaire to determine the prevalence and nature of their experiences of stalking behaviours. Those who self-reported that they had been stalked were divided according to whether their pursuer had, or had not, attacked them. Results: Of the 432 who reported having been stalked, 75 (17.4%) had been attacked. A number of victim and perpetrator factors differentiated those who reported attacks. A combination of the victim being threatened, being an ex-intimate, and being younger at the time of the stalking incident were predictive of attack. A multivariate model containing these factors correctly classified 82% of the sample and achieved an AUC of 0.87. Conclusions: Stalking is an all too common problem behaviour that can result in a range of harmful outcomes for victims. Threats made by ex-intimates are a particular cause for concern. The generalizability of these findings should be tested using robust prospective methodologies in diverse populations. Key words: assault, ex-intimates, stalking, threats.

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