Stalking is a severe crime in the United States that impacts on the victim and the society in general. Recent data from the Bureau of Justice statistics indicate that 14 in every 1,000 persons age 18 or older experience stalking (Catalano, 2012). The highest risk of stalking is evident among individuals who are separated or divorced. Besides, women are at a higher risk of experiencing stalking compared to men (Baum, 2011). In most cases, the victims might be familiar with the offender. Therefore, to deal with the crime of stalking effectively, victims’ witness assistants and prosecutors should conduct practical evaluation and assessment to understand the risk, extent, and severity of the crime in order to act accordingly.
Importance of Recognizing the Signs of Stalking
Being able to recognize the signs of stalking can be a matter of life and death. In some cases, stalking can be lead to death. Thus, it is critical to assess and understand the signs of stalking to save lives and bring offenders to book. For example, when a woman reports stalking related to domestic violence, the victims’ witness assistant, and prosecutors should determine the validity of the allegation and act urgently because a large percentage of stalking occurs in such a context (Mullen et al., 2006). They should also understand the level of danger to a victim of stalking. Overall, they should evaluate the validity that the person is under threat of bodily injury or death.
Criminal Definition of Stalking
Legally, stalking is a crime or act of willingly and repeatedly harassing or following another individual in situations that would lead to fear, injury, or even death of an individual. The victim should perceive danger because of explicit or implied threats. The law points to behavior that should be observed to conclude that a person is a victim of stalking. Such behaviors should include making unwelcome telephone calls, sending unwelcome or unwanted e-mails or letters, spying or following a person, showing up at places without a genuine reason, waiting for the target at places, leaving unwanted things, such as flowers or presents, spreading or posting false information about the victim. Apart from the state definitions, the federal government regulates stalking under federal law 18 U.S.C. § 2261A (Tjaden & Thoennes, 2008). Under such laws, perpetrators are prosecuted under the law if found guilty.
All office personnel should understand some critical facts about stalking. One of the things is to take any stalking allegation seriously to save lives. Another crucial point is to realize that the law protects victims of stalking, which makes it their duty to recognize the crime and take relevant action, such as reporting to authorities. More importantly, the victims should understand that a victim of stalking has civil and criminal remedies that they can consider, such as protection, stopping the act, and holding the stalker accountable. Such information will help in fighting for the rights of the victims.
Victim’s Date of Birth
Children/minors living in the home
City, state, zip
Relationship with the stalker
Nature (tick as appropriate)
|Making unwelcome telephone callsSending unwelcome or unwanted e-mails or lettersSpying or following a personShowing up at places without a genuine reasonWaiting for the target at placesLeaving unwanted things, such as flowers or presentsSpreading or posting false information about the victim|
Frequency of stalking (tick as appropriate)
|Once a dayTwice a dayMore than twice a dayOnce a weekMore than once a weekOnce a monthMore than once a month|
Is the victim in fear?
If yes, why?
Have you filed an injunction before?
Are you undergoing a separation of divorce with the stalker?
Please describe the stalking incident
Evaluation and Assessment Form
- Do you know the stalker well?
- Has he/she ever injured you seriously?
- Have you ever told anyone about the problem? If yes, who did you talk to?
- Does the stalker have any weapon (e.g. gun, knife, dagger, etc.)? If yes, do you know the type of weapon?
- Has he/she ever threatened you with bodily harm or using any of the weapons?
- Has he/she ever threatened to kill or hurt you? If yes, when was the last threat? What was the exact threat?
- Does he/she have a history of violence? If yes, give some examples.
- Does he/she get extremely angry when you talk to other men or accuse you of cheating?
- Does he/she use any substance or alcohol? If yes, does he become violent under their influence?
- Is he/she making unwelcome telephone calls or text messages, letters, or e-mails?
- Is he/she spying or following you around?
- Is he/she showing up at places without a genuine reason or waiting for you at places?
- Is he/she leaving unwanted things, such as flowers or presents?
- Is there any other information you would like the police to know regarding the threat?
Ranking Level of risk
1 – 4 At risk
5 – 7 At High risk
8 – 10 At Extreme risk
Baum, K. (2011). Stalking victimization in the United States. DIANE Publishing.
Catalano, S. (2012). Stalking victims in the United States-revised. Age, 18(19), 8-047.
Mullen, P. E., Mackenzie, R., Ogloff, J. R., Pathé, M., McEwan, T., & Purcell, R. (2006). Assessing and managing the risks in the stalking situation. Journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law Online, 34(4), 439-450.
Tjaden, P. G., & Thoennes, N. (2008). Stalking in America: Findings from the national violence against women survey. U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, National Institute of Justice.