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Profiling the Stalker Dr Shaunagh Foy. From a stalking victim support forum “it's like damned if you do, damned if you don't I tried to explain to my.

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Presentation on theme: "Profiling the Stalker Dr Shaunagh Foy. From a stalking victim support forum “it's like damned if you do, damned if you don't I tried to explain to my."— Presentation transcript:

1 Profiling the Stalker Dr Shaunagh Foy

2 From a stalking victim support forum “it's like damned if you do, damned if you don't I tried to explain to my friends that when I see and ignore him, he escalates....if I see and react to him in a negative way, he escalates so, I just avoid him seeing me all together, but still, if he doesn't see me, he works harder to track down when I come and go so he can "see" in other words he escalates at least he's calmed down with the vandalism...” Profiling the Stalker

3 Interesting Features  Different types  Dangerousness  Psychological process  Escalation

4 Profiling the Stalker Stalking Behaviours  Ambush their victim  Phone repeatedly (hang-ups)  Pursue or follow their target  Make obscene phone calls  Make threatening phone calls  Display weapons  Trespass  Vandalise property  Assume targets identity online  Assume another’s identity online  Send numerous letters  Send numerous emails  Deliver unwanted gifts  Deliver repulsive gifts  Constrain or confine target  Threaten suicide  Harm the target  Harm family members  Harm a pet  Recruit others to help Stalking behaviours can be diverse

5 Perpetrator Characteristics  Usually male  In his (her) early 30s or 40s  Employed, but high unemployment (22%) is common  Single or separated (65%)  Knows their target (66%)  Suffering from a mental disorder or personality disorder (80%) Profiling the Stalker

6 Perpetrator Characteristics  The stalker harasses the target for less than one month (55%)  The stalker harasses the target between 1 and 6 months (23%)  The stalker threatens his (her) target (29%), and damages property (23%).  73% of those who are attacked had been warned by the stalker  Stalkers will murder approximately 2% of victims Profiling the Stalker

7 Overview of topics Typologies Ex-intimate Stalkers Acquaintance Stalkers Stranger Stalkers Dangerousness Psychology of the Stalker Women who stalk

8 Typologies

9 Types of Typologies Typologies can be based upon -characteristics of the victim -relationship between the stalker and the victim -motivations of the stalker -psychological characteristics of the stalkers Profiling the Stalker

10 Stalker-Victim Relationship (British Crime Survey) Profiling the Stalker

11 Type of Obsession Profiling the Stalker

12 Type of Motivation Profiling the Stalker

13 Ex-intimate Stalkers Acquaintance Stalkers Stranger Stalkers

14 Ex-Intimate Stalkers Acquaintance Stalkers Stranger Stalkers

15 Ex-intimate Stalking  Average to above average intelligence  Dependant personalities  Controlling personalities  Often Narcissistic  Antisocial personality type (“mean streak”)  The time of break up is a dangerous time  Most stalkers don't have any relationship outside the one they are trying to re-establish  Violent partners try to maintain control

16 Holly Graham Star Casino, Sydney

17 Profiling the Stalker Ex-Intimate Stalking  Murdered at 24 years by her husband on August 18th, 2008  Shaun was furious with her because she had not responded to the hundreds of text messages on the Saturday.  Text messages to victims cousin  The messages started with a polite invitation to come out for a bonfire. Her cousin declined.  "Are you sure? I'm burning all of Jenni's stuff“  "Wow, shoes burn faster than you'd think"  "click click boom” Shaun and Jennifer Vordermann

18 Profiling the Stalker Ex-Intimate Stalking  "His personality took a complete 180 after they got married. He used to be quiet, shy and a polite guy. The whole family liked him.“ (Melissa – Jennifer’s cousin)  My husband keeps calling me and telling me he's going to kill himself.... I'm afraid to go there.... He's crazy.... I don't know what's going to happen... because then I get freaked out like I'm going to be hurt... but he does like stalk me at work." Shaun and Jennifer Vordermann

19 Ex-intimate Stalkers Acquaintance Stalkers Stranger Stalkers

20 Acquaintance Stalking


22 Ex-intimate Stalkers Acquaintance Stalkers Stranger Stalkers

23 Profiling the Stalker


25 She came into my life in the right moment. She was brilliant, pretty, outrageous, her innocence impressed me. She turned into a goddess for me, an idol. Since then, I turned an atheist, I only adored her. Robert John Bardo

26 Profiling the Stalker Stranger Stalkers  Anna Kournikova  Michael Douglas and his wife Catherine Zeta-Jones  George Harrison  Uma Thurman  Jodie Foster  Madonna  David Letterman Other celebrity victims

27 Dangerousness Psychology of the Stalker Women who Stalk


29 People who stalk are often dangerous 1.They are obsessive, often extremely so. 2.Their behaviours often escalate to violence 3.They are covert in their operating 4.They are mentally unstable Profiling the Stalker

30 Serious violence might also be associated with shorter duration of stalking. According to the National Center for Victims of Crime: 76% of female murder victims and 85% of attempted murder victims were stalked by their intimate partners during the year previously Profiling the Stalker

31 Relationship-specific factors Angry-jealous emotional reactions to a break-up Anger Jealousy Obsessiveness Who ends the relationship? Being the recipient of the break-up Quality of the relationship Higher rates of dissatisfaction Profiling the Stalker

32 The most violent stalker  Prior intimate relationship  Presence of threats  Substance abuse  Personality disorder  History of violent behaviour  Absence of a psychotic disorder  Revenge motivation  Criminal history Profiling the Stalker

33 Dangerousness Psychology of the Stalker Women who Stalk

34 The stalker might have a history of: Harsh parental discipline Unpredictable or chaotic parental relationships A negative sense of self Easily angered within the context of seeking control Profiling the Stalker

35 Motivation is Complex Profiling the Stalker

36 The stalker lives out a self-fulfilling prophecy Profiling the Stalker Forces Intimacy Lessens Satisfaction Withdrawal Fears Abandonment Emotional Tactics Psychological control

37 Dangerousness Psychology of the Stalker Women who Stalk

38 Women who stalk  About 12% of stalking cases are perpetrated by women  They are usually single  Employed (35% were unemployed)  95% of women stalkers target someone previously known to them. -40% were from professional contacts (psychologists, GP, teachers, legal professionals). -This is significantly different from males. Profiling the Stalker

39 Women who stalk  No difference in age or education  Less likely to have a criminal record  Lower rates of substance abuse  No difference in psychiatric disturbance  The duration of stalking was the same for males and females  The frequency of violence was also the same  Females are much more likely to target professional contacts  Females are more likely to pursue the same gender (50%)  Women are seeking intimacy with their victim Profiling the Stalker

40 Women who stalk  Women are more likely to assault other women  Women and men receive the same volume of verbal threats of violence  Damage to cars, and obscene graffiti are common  Women are just as intrusive as men  Favour telephone calls (over following) Profiling the Stalker

41 Summary

42  Most stalkers might be lonely and socially incompetent, but all have the capacity to frighten and distress their victims.  Stalkers experience complex emotions, which makes them potentially dangerous, and ultimately impossible to predict.  Anyone can be stalked  A stalker will never accept the responsibility for his actions, it’s always someone else’s fault Profiling the Stalker

43 We are still defining terms  Stalking laws have proved difficult to draft. All jurisdictions have adopted different approaches and have kept them under review. -What is stalking? -What is violence?  Our knowledge is limited. -Time -Samples -Forensic settings (psych hospitals) -Police files -Self-referred and self-report (victim) We are still learning

44 Context is Everything Profiling the Stalker

45 Are there early warning signs? Too good to be true Intense romance (swift marriage proposals) “We are destined to be together” “We are spiritually connected” View stressful circumstances as personally threatening Making their partner doubt themselves

46 Some other possible indicators  Has an obsessive personality  Above average intelligence  No or few personal relationships  Lack of embarrassment or discomfort at actions  Low self esteem  Has a mean streak Profiling the Stalker

47 Tips on what to do if you are being stalked  Be clear and concise. Don't make excuses or try to spare their feelings.  Don't have any contact with the stalker, because any contact, even negative contact, might be re-interpreted by the stalker. Ignore

48 Recommended Books

49 Websites videos.htm?sort=date&page=3 videos.htm?sort=date&page=3 Profiling the Stalker

50 Key References  Sheridan, L. and Davies, G.M. (2001c). Violence and the prior victim-stalker relationship. Criminal Behaviour and Mental Health, 11, 102-116. 1998 British Crime Survey  Rosenfeld, B. (2000 ) Assessment and treatment of obsessional harassment. Aggression and Violent Behavior, 5, 529 –549.  Mullen, P. E. & Pathé, M. (2001) Stalking. Crime and Justice, in press.  Mullen, P. E., Pathé, M., Purcell, R., et al (1999 ) A study of stalkers. American Journal of Psychiatry, 156, 1244 –1249.  Mullen, P. E., Pathé, M. & Purcell, R., (2000) Stalkers and their Victims. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.  Meloy, J. R. (1998) The psychology of stalking. In The Psychology of Stalking: Clinical and Forensic Perspectives (ed. J. R. Meloy), pp. 2–23. San Diego, CA: Academic Press.  Harmon, R. B., Rosner, R. & Owens, H. (1998 ) Sex and violence in a forensic population of obsessional harassers. Psychology, Public Policy, and Law, 4, 236 –249.  Emerson, R. M., Ferris, K. O. & Gardner, C. B. (1998 ) On being stalked. Social Problems, 45, 289 –314.

51 Profiling the Stalker Contact Details Dr Shaunagh Foy Phone: 6331 4133 Email:

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