Is Stalking a Sign that Domestic Violence May Turn Fatal?
Many people have seen movies about stalking and even may have made jokes about someone being a “stalker.” But stalking is a crime. More and more studies are showing a direct connection between stallking behaviors and predicting whether domestic violence will turn deadly.
For example, the Georgia fatality review found:
“The Annual Report’s five chapters provide an analysis of stalking behaviors in the context of an intimate partner relationship, discuss the response of the criminal justice system and civil remedies to stalking as well as electronic stalking and tech safety, and makes recommendations for systemic changes to improve safety for victims and accountability for perpetrators of stalking. Key findings in the Report include:
- Intimate partner stalkers are the most dangerous type of stalker and stalking is a risk factor for homicide . Intimate partner stalkers utilize multiple strategies to monitor and control victims including surveillance, life invasion, intimidation, and interference.
- Perpetrators in reviewed stalking cases engaged in threatening and intimidating behaviors at a higher rate . Perpetrators were more likely to make threats to kill the victim (present in 67 percent) and threaten the victim with a weapon (present in 43 percent).
- A history of physical assault more prevalent in reviewed stalking cases than in non-stalking cases. In 95 percent of stalking cases the perpetrator had a history of physically assaulting the victim.Strangulation, a dangerous and lethal form of physical assault, occurred in stalking cases at over twice the rate of non-stalking cases. Perpetrators were twice as likely to have sexually assaulted the victim prior to the homicide than in non-stalking cases.
- In 74 percent of reviewed stalking cases, a Temporary Protective Order was violated prior to the fatal incident. These incidents signal missed opportunities to hold perpetrators, who subsequently went on to kill their victims, accountable for ongoing abuse.
- Homicides in reviewed stalking cases were more likely to occur in “public” spaces , such as the home of a family member or friend, a parking lot or sidewalk, a workplace or on public land. Thirty-nine percent of fatal incidents in reviewed stalking cases occurred away from the home.
- Many bystanders witness these tragic events. Witnesses to the homicide were present in 56 percent of the reviewed stalking cases, 38 percent of the witnesses were children.
Jan Christiansen, Executive Director of GCADV, believes the Report builds on the work being done to address victim safety throughout the state. She says, “The Report is a great tool for change in communities. Its recommendations address issues we see as missed opportunities to intervene, such as removing firearms from dangerous offenders.” She clarifies, “Stalkers in reviewed cases were more likely to threaten the victim with a weapon. Many of the victims had obtained a Temporary Protective Order (TPO) but 71 percent of the victims killed while a TPO was in place died by gunshot. We have to acknowledge that more can be done to address this gap in safety for victims.”The report will be accessible for free online atwww.georgiafatalityreview.com “
If you have a protective order against you and you violate it you may get violation of a protective order / stalking charges. Remember a protective order is a legal document so any contact with the victim can lead to criminal charges.
If you have been court ordered to complete domestic violence classes you may visit www.onlinedomesticviolenceclasses.com to receive your first 4 classes free.