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Matt Markon, Esq. 202-467-8727. Stalking and Disability What is stalking? Defined by statute Common theme present in all statutes Common perceptions What.

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Presentation on theme: "Matt Markon, Esq. 202-467-8727. Stalking and Disability What is stalking? Defined by statute Common theme present in all statutes Common perceptions What."— Presentation transcript:

1 Matt Markon, Esq. 202-467-8727

2 Stalking and Disability What is stalking? Defined by statute Common theme present in all statutes Common perceptions What is disability? How do we define it? What statutes do we use?

3 What is a Disability? Any physical, sensory, or mental impairment [or any combination of these

4 What is problematic with this definition of disability? It doesn’t really help us. “Disabled persons” is so broad to be meaningless. Different “disabilities” bring different challenges to the practitioner “What challenges does this case present?”

5 What is Stalking? Stalking generally refers to repeated harassing or threatening behavior putting another person in fear.

6 Stalking Can seemingly non-threatening behavior be stalking? Case example from Tom Kirkman Context is EVERYTHING!!!

7 Prevalence of Stalking ü1 out of every 12 U.S. Women (8.2 million) and 1 out of every 45 U.S. men (2 million) has been stalked at some point. üEstimated 1.4 million people are stalked annually. üCampus Study: 13.1% of college women were stalked during a one semester survey.

8 Relationship to Stalker: 77% of female victims are stalked by someone they know. 23% of female stalking victims are stalked by strangers. –NVAW Study (1998)

9 Stalking, DV & Sexual Assault ü81% of stalking victims who were stalked by an intimate partner reported that they had also been physically assaulted by that partner. ü31% were also sexually assaulted by that partner >>>NVAW Study (1998)

10 Prevalence– Femicide Study ü76% of femicide cases involved at least one episode of stalking within 12 months prior to the murder. ü85% of attempted femicide cases involved at least one episode of stalking within 12 months prior to the attempted murder.

11 Physical Abuse and Stalking ü67% of femicide victims had been physically abused by their intimate partner in the 12 months before the murder. ü89% of femicide victims who had been physically abused had also been stalked in the 12 months before the murder.

12 Reports to Law Enforcement 54% of femicide victims reported stalking to police before they were killed by their stalkers. 46% of attempted femicide victims reported stalking to police before the attempted murder.

13 Victim’s Reactions Sociologist Jennifer Dunn, PhD researched victim’s responses to stalking by former intimate partners. Courting Disaster: Intimate Stalking, Culture, and Criminal Justice, Jennifer L. Dunn

14 Four Types of Victim Reactions Active resistance Threats to call 911; Physical struggle; Recording stalker’s behavior Help seeking Calling police; Escorted to car; Screaming for help Coping to reduce danger Screening calls or changing number; Moving; Staying with family or friends; Hiding Coping by complying with stalker’s demands Visiting stalker; Going places with stalker; Continuing sexual relations with stalker; Requesting case be dropped

15 Are the stalking statistics the same for victims with disabilities?

16 Women with disabilities experience the highest rate of personal violence – violence at the hands of spouses, partners, boyfriends, family members, caregivers, and strangers – of any group in our society today. Abramson, W., Emanuel, E., Gaylord, V., & Hayden, M. (Eds.). (2000). Impact: Feature Issue on Violence Against Women with Developmental or Other Disabilities, 13 (3). Minneapolis: University of Minnesota, Institute on Community Integration.

17 Each year, nearly 10 thousand women and children become permanently hearing impaired due to being repeatedly struck on or near the ear. National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders; National Institutes of Health, National Strategic Research Plan (1989) A study of 482 children with documented maltreatment evaluated at the Center for Abused Handicapped Children at Boys Town Research Hospital in Omaha, NE, reveals that more than half (53.4%) of the deaf children report being sexually abused. Sullivan, P.M., Vernon, M., & Scanlan, J., 1987. "Sexual abuse of deaf youth." American Annals of the Deaf, 132, 256-62.

18 “Studies suggest that mentally disabled people are at least four times more likely than other Americans to be targets of sexual assault and other violence. Some studies indicate that more than 75 percent of mentally disabled women are sexually abused.” Justice Dept. background on crime against the disabled: Published by the Institute on Community Integration (UAP) · Research and Training Center on Community Living Volume 13 · Number 3 · Fall 2000

19 Persons with developmental disabilities have a high risk of being sexually abused. One researcher estimates that 90% of people with developmental disabilities will be sexually victimized in their lifetime, yet only 3% of the assaults will ever be reported. Sobsey, D. & Doe, T. (1991) Patterns of sexual abuse and assault. Sexuality and Disability, 9 (3), 243-259; Tyiska, 1998) Tyiska, C. (1998). Working with victims of crime with disabilities (OVC Bulletin). Washington, D.C: U.S. Department of Justice..

20 Stalking and Disabilities [Have some things in common [They aren’t being identified [Response to them is inadequate

21 Are disabilities being identified? How many shelters are checking for TBI, concussions? Victims are labeled as borderline when they miss appointments Are they asking about prior incidents of unconsiosness? [How many are actually having victims assessed for trauma related mental issues? (not just saying it is ptsd)

22 Is stalking being identified? Independent living centers [Are they even looking at stalking? [Do they have protocol in place? [Shelters? [S/A programs?

23 There are NO profiles of stalkers!

24 What we can say about stalkers Many Stalkers have: Above average intelligence Dependant personalities Controlling personalities Relationship stalkers tend to have Personality Disorders Often Narcissistic, Antisocial and/or Borderline

25 Psychology of Stalking: Wright, Burgess, Burgess, Laszlo, McCrary and Douglas (1996). A Typology of Interpersonal Stalking (Journal of Interpersonal Violence, Vol. 11 No. 4, Dec 1996)

26 Categories of Stalkers Nondomestic Stalker Organized Delusional Domestic Stalker

27 Nondomestic Stalker üNo interpersonal relationship with victim üMay target victim from brief encounter or simply an observation üVictim may be unable to identify the stalker when first becoming aware of the stalking

28 Organized Delusional üRelationship between stalker and victim is one- way üAnonymous communications üUntil the first communication – Victim is often unaware üUnknown identity üCasual contact – described to victim - to let the victim know that stalker is capable of carrying out threats üRelationship is based on stalker’s psychological fixation üFusion (stalker blends his or her personality into the victim’s) or üErotomania (fantasy of idealized love or spiritual union) or üNarcissistic Linking Fantasy üCommand Hallucinations or Religious fantasy

29 Domestic Stalker üFormer relationship between stalker and victim üVictim aware of stalking Domestic Violence üPrior abuse or conflict with stalker (Domestic Violence) üStalker often seeks to continue or reestablish a relationship that victim has attempted to end üMotivation evolves into “If I can’t have her, no one can.” üVictim will often express feeling “smothered” in prior relationship üMurder/suicide

30 Why do they stalk? Rejection (real or imagined) Threatens stalker’s narcissistic fantasy of themselves (superior, intelligent, important, powerful, admired, or that stalker’s relationship with victim is their destiny) Stalker’s fantasy of self + rejection (real or imagined) leads to feelings of shame, humiliation, and finally to rage Stalking increases feelings of Power & Control (reinforces narcissistic fantasy) Obsession and maladaptive coping mechanisms

31 Stages of stalking 1.Catalysation 2.Development 3.Harassment 4.Intrusion 5.Contact

32 Catalysation üStalker has some connection to victim. üIntimate relationship üDelusional relationship

33 Development Stalker develops high level of interest in victim. Stalker desires to be the center of victim’s life. Stalker begins to feel extreme like or extreme dislike of victim.

34 Harassment üVictim becomes aware of the stalker üExtreme affection for victim üTelephone harassment üObscene calls, hang up calls etc… üLove notes, flowers, cards, gifts etc… üExtreme dislike or hatred of victim üVandalism üTelephone harassment üThreatening calls, silent calls, hang up calls etc… üHate mail

35 Intrusion Increased confidence of stalker Stalking feels good Position of power and control Feelings of superiority Thrill of getting away with it

36 Contact Physical Proximity Following, watching, driving by in car Approaching victim in public place Direct confrontation in public Physical contact with victim Violent act Mental abuse (violent threat) Physical assault Sexual assault Murder

37 What makes Stalking difficult for Law Enforcement? Varying Activity Levels Over Several Years Incidents in Multiple Jurisdictions Difficult to Identify/ Officer Misconceptions Course of Conduct Defines the Crime Single acts may only be illegal within overall scheme Few Witnesses Evidence (none; little; can’t be tied to stalker) Law Enforcement Response Can Not Guarantee Stalking Will Stop

38 What About Stalking Can Make It Easy to Investigate? Same Victim Same Offender Same Locations Stalking Is A Course of Conduct Ongoing Long-Term Crime

39 Stalking Investigation

40 First Responder üAny time there is a report of harassing behavior – look for stalking! üAny time there is more than one incident of harassment – treat the case as stalking! üDetermine if there is any prior police involvement üRemember: victims often put up with stalking for a long time before reporting it

41 Follow Up Investigation 1.Threat Assessment 2.Establishing Corroboration

42 What does threat assessment tell us? üWhich individuals show signs that demonstrate they pose a risk at a particular point in time. “unknown risk”. üAll other individuals are of “unknown risk”. üWe can never use risk assessment to determine that a person is Not a risk!

43 Information About Victim How well does suspect know victim? Is victim vulnerable to attack? Target Hardening: ways to make the victim less vulnerable to an attack Is victim in fear? Why? Victim’s family, friends, coworkers? Is victim naive about the danger?

44 Information About Stalker Thorough documentation of any: üPrior threats üPursuit or following üEmotional outbursts or rage üMental illness üSubstance abuse üAnimal abuse üPossession or fascination with weapons üViolations of Protective Orders

45 Document and compile all of stalker’s criminal history and contacts with law enforcement

46 üUse a threat assessment worksheet or other device so that you do not forget anything üThe victim is likely going to be your best source of information

47 Suspect’s behavior Is there a pattern of increasingly more personal communications? Vague messages followed by more personal communications Have there been any changes (increase or decrease) in the frequency of the stalker’s activities or communications?

48 üIs there any evidence that the stalker is planning something? üDoes the stalker possess any instructional books or other materials about harming others? (Bomb making etc…)

49 Develop a time line of the stalking behaviors towards the victim.

50 Have there been “rehearsals” of the act that is being threatened? üCan be verbal “picture painting” ü“Let me tell you what I'm going to do...” üPartial re-enactments üShowing someone the weapon you intend to use or the place where you’re going to kill or bury them. üSymbolic violence üCutting the head off a toy doll belonging to or representing the victim.

51 Willingness to “leave evidence” or “not caring who knows” may indicate a more serious intention to follow through.

52 Is the threat detailed and specific? Threats can be evaluated in a similar manner to the way we examine potential suicides Generally, the more thought that’s gone into the plan (evidenced by the amount and specificity of the detail), the more likely it is to be acted on Examples: “I’m going to kill you” “Tonight, I’m going to stop by your work while you are alone. I am going to enter through the side door which is unlocked until nine o’clock when the maintenance people leave. Then I am going to shoot you twice in the head and twice in the chest and leave through the back door to the mail room which opens into the alley where I am going to park my car”

53 High Risk Factors üOffender’s Past Behavior üSexual Intimacy with Victim üSubstance Abuse üSymbolic Violence üNo Mental Illness

54 Other Red Flags üThreats to kill victim üAccess to weapons üViolation of Protective Orders üPhysical access to victim üSuicidal threats or thoughts üHistory of stalking

55 Interview of Stalker “Tell us how your actions are being misunderstood.” Stalker’s thinking and behavior toward victim (Threat Assessment) Video tape interview Evaluation by mental health expert Stalkers are very intelligent Stalker will likely attempt to rationalize, deny or “outsmart” the interviewer Caution: Police contact can increase stalker’s interest in victim or escalate threat

56 Search Warrants Stalker’s residence and vehicle Photos of victim Photos, drawings, or sketches of victim’s home, work, or school Writings, logs, diaries describing thoughts, actions or fantasies Video or cassette tapes Books relating to stalking or violence Any devices or objects that could be used to stalk (cameras, binoculars, GPS, night vision) Anything that belongs to or relates to the victim

57 Search Warrant [Computers! [Cookies [Bookmarks

58 Other Evidence Seize anything that corroborates the stalking including: Phone messages Letters, notes etc.. from stalker Objects sent from stalker Photo any damaged property graffiti etc… Examine damaged items for latent prints For each incident, find corroborating witnesses! Phone records

59 Surveillance “Stalk the Stalker” programs Provides corroboration Suspect can be caught in the act Orange County Sheriff’s Office, Florida DV + Violation of Protective Order = Homicide In 1996 purchased night vision cameras, GPS systems etc… In 1996 DV homicides 34% Less than 1% in the last year

60 Ways that Law Enforcement Can Strengthen Cases: üEmpower victim to play an active role in investigation üDocument everything! üInvestigate stalker’s past (other victims, acts, cases, witnesses) üUse all techniques available (trash pulls, surveillance) üCorroborate everything! üShow evidence and events within the entire context of the stalking case!

61 Advantages of Charging “Stalking” üTo prove a Course of Conduct, the state may introduce evidence that would otherwise be inadmissible üIf viewed within the correct context of the law, stalking statutes can criminalize seemingly benign behaviors üWhen properly investigated and charged aggressively, stalking cases can save lives!

62 “It’s going to take getting a bullet put in my head before people understand how serious this is.” Stalking victim one month before she was murdered (January 2003)

63 Matt Markon 202-467-8727

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