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Try out PMC Labs and tell us what you think. Learn More. When the act was passed it was expected that about cases would arise from it annually. According to the Suzy Lamplugh Trust, however, people were brought Why do people become stalkers court under the act in the first six months ofof whom were convicted. Although associated with stalking, the harassment act encompasses a wide range of behaviours, not all of which are stalking. Most definitions of stalking include the repeated targeting of a specific victim with harassment or following, 1 but the border between legitimate courtship and stalking can be blurred.
Generally, to be defined as stalking the behaviour must be unwanted and intrusive. The range of behaviour involved in stalking can be broadly grouped in three. Often the stalker will order goods and services on the victim's behalf. Finally comes aggression or violence, in which stalkers threaten their victims, harass their families, damage their property, make false accusations about them, and cause sexual or physical injury. Such cases, however, are in the minority, with most victims being ordinary citizens. Most stalkers are Why do people become stalkers and most victims women.
Both tend to be older than criminals and crime victims generally. Motivations underlying the stalking behaviour range from reasserting power over a rejecting partner to the quest for a loving relationship. Classifications of stalking behaviour have tended to concentrate on the stalker-victim relationship. Perhaps the most frequently referred to is that of Zona et al, which is based on their study of 74 cases handled by the Los Angeles police.
The simple obsessional group is most common and reported to be the most likely to resort to violence. Those in the erotomanic group are usually women, with their victims being older men of higher socioeconomic status. Although this classification is useful, it has its limitations. In particular, it largely ignores the offender's motivation. It is also not clear how reliably the last two groups can be distinguished, how well the typology differentiates between persistent courtship and stalking, and whether it has any predictive validity.
We believe stalking is best understood through a multi-dimensional model involving the relationship of the stalker to the victim, the motivation of the stalker, and the Why do people become stalkers of the stalking behaviour. Such an approach provides a basis for risk assessment. The successful management of stalking requires cooperation between health professionals and others in the criminal justice system.
It should include a comprehensive risk assessment addressing motivation, persistence, and likelihood of violence. Some individuals will cease the behaviour after a period of detention or if threatened with arrest. Factors which may increase risk, such as substance misuse, can be addressed in their own right, while neuroleptic medication may have a role if psychotic symptoms are evident, and low dose neuroleptics can be effective even in the absence of psychosis.
Mental health professionals can therefore usefully support others involved in risk management. Victims of stalkers may consult general practitioners. Doctors need to be aware of the psychological sequelae of being stalked and the legal protections available for victims and be able to direct them to local support groups. Organisations such as the Suzy Lamplugh Trust can provide useful information to professionals as well as victims.
The effects of stalkers on their victims are immense and can result in ificant psychiatric morbidity. We know little about who is most vulnerable to becoming a stalker, and more needs to be known about treatment and risk management. Stalking provides good material for literature and films, but the effects in real life can be very damaging.
National Center for Biotechnology InformationU. Journal List BMJ v. Rajesh Nadkarnispecialist registrar. Copyright and information Disclaimer. References 1. Westrup D, Fremouw WJ. Stalking behaviour: a literature review and suggested functional analytic assessment technology. Aggression and Human Behaviour. People v Heilman, 25 Cal App 4th Meloy JR, Gothard S. Demographic and clinical comparison of obsessional followers and offenders with mental disorders. Am J Psychiatry. Study of stalkers. A comparative study of erotomanic and obsessional subjects in a forensic sample.
J Forensic Sci. A comparative study of psychotic and non-psychotic stalking. J Am Acad Psychiatry Law. Violent versus nonviolent stalkers.
Stalking and the pathologies of love. Aust N Z J Psychiatry. The impact of stalkers on their victims. Br J Psychiatry. Support Center Support Center. External link.
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