Top of page
Global Site Navigation

School of Law and Justice

Local Section Navigation
You are here:
ECU is currently converting this web content to a more mobile friendly format. If you find the content below is not formatting correctly during this transition please view on desktop browser.
Main Content

International perceptions of stalking

The research comprised three studies and examined the influence of perpetrator-victim relationship, severity of behaviour, perpetrator sex, victim sex, participant sex and domestic situation on perceptions of stalking and responsibility in Australia, the United States and the United Kingdom.

The total sample comprised 3,780 community members who were asked to read 1 of 30 hypothetical stalking scenarios and to respond to questions concerning the seriousness and criminality of the perpetrator's behaviour, and the experiences and responsibility of the victim.

Results

Study group perceptions

In the case of being perpetrated by a stranger rather than an ex-partner:

  • People were more likely to believe the situation represented a serious case of stalking that required police intervention and a criminal conviction.
  • People were more likely to believe the situation would continue for a long time, and cause the victim alarm and fear. 
  • People were less likely to believe the victim was responsible for the situation.

When the perpetrator's behaviour was persistent and/or threatening:

  • People were more likely to believe the situation represented a serious case of stalking that required police intervention and a criminal conviction and that the situation would continue for a long time, and cause the victim alarm and fear 
  • People were less likely to believe the victim could help resolve the situation and more likely to believe it would take the victim a long time to recover.
In the case of being perpetrated by a man rather than a woman:
  • People were more likely to believe the situation required police intervention and that the situation would cause the victim alarm and fear.
  • People were more likely to believe the situation would cause the victim alarm and fear when the victim was a woman rather than a man.
  • Female participants were more likely to believe than male participants that the situation represented a serious case of stalking that required police intervention, the situation would continue for a long time and cause the victim alarm and fear.
  • Female participants were less likely to believe the victim could help resolve the situation than male participants.

When the perpetrator was verbally or physically abusive compared to the other four ex-partner conditions:

  • People were more likely to believe the situation represented a serious case of stalking that required police intervention and a criminal conviction, the situation would continue for a long time, cause the victim alarm and fear, and take the victim longer to recover.
  • People were less likely to believe the victim was responsible or could help resolve the situation.

The overall pattern of findings was similar across Australia, the United States and the United Kingdom. However, people in the United States were the most likely to believe that the situation was serious, required police intervention and a criminal conviction, and would cause the victim fear. People in the United States were also the most likely to believe the victim was responsible for the situation and could help resolve the situation

Researchers

Skip to top of page