Is Timing Everything?: An Examination of Victim Responses to Stalking in Australia

Matthew Raj1
1Bond University

An estimated one-in-six women in Australia will be stalked at some stage in their lives (Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2016). Should a victim respond to stalking? What is the best method of response? Is there any benefit to acting early? Very few empirical studies of stalking victim responses exist, and even fewer have yielded evidence showing how a particular intervention affects an instance of stalking This study, completed as part of a doctoral thesis, examined the relationship between the duration and intensity of stalking, and the way in which victims respond to being stalked. The study used Routine Activity Theory to highlight the way in which behaviours impact both offending and victimisation. Respondents (N=143) completed a self-report questionnaire, derived from an instrument used by Sheridan and Blaauw (2004). The study examined, among other things, responses to stalking and the temporal dimension in employing responses. Broadly, findings showed that an early response (i.e., within two weeks) was associated with a shorter duration of stalking (i.e., less than one year) for the following responses: personally informing the stalking that their behaviour was unwanted; informing the police; and informing an employer. Overall, the study contributes to the fields of crime prevention and victimology and aims to inform best practice in the strategic intervention of stalking.


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