Stalking: Living in the Shadow of Fear

Stalking: Living in the Shadow of Fear
“I wake up every morning, wondering if this is the day I will
die at the hands of my stalker. I spend the day looking over
my shoulder for him. I jump every time the phone rings. I
can’t sleep at night from worrying. When I do sleep, I have
nightmares of him. I can’t escape him for a minute. I never
have a moment’s peace awake or asleep.”
— A StalkingVictim
Common Stalking Behaviors
 Follow and show up wherever victim is.
 Send unwanted gifts, letters, cards, or e-mails.
 Damage victim’s property.
 Monitor phone calls or computer use.
 Use technology, like hidden cameras or global
positioning systems (GPS), to track victims.
 Drive by or hang out at victim’s home, school, or work.
Common Stalking Behaviors
 Threaten to hurt victim or victim’s family, friends, or
 Find out about victim by using public records or online
search services, hiring investigators, going through
garbage, or contacting friends, family, neighbors, or coworkers.
 Posting information or spreading rumors on the
Internet, in a public place, or by word of mouth.
Stalking Victimization
 3.4 million people over the age of 18 are stalked each year in
the United States.
 3 in 4 stalking victims are stalked by someone they know.
 30% of stalking victims are stalked by a current or former
intimate partner.
 1 in 4 victims report being stalked through the use of some
form of technology (such as e-mail or instant messaging).
Katrina Baum et al., (2009). "Stalking Victimization in the United States," (Washington,
DC:BJS, 2009).
The Promise of the Internet:
“Youthful, fun-loving SWM into
classical music, long walks on the
beach, and cuddling in front of the fire
seeking that special SWF that wants to
be treated as the princess she is.”
Awful Truth About the Internet
Impact of Stalking on Victims
 46% of stalking victims fear not knowing what will happen next.
 29% of stalking victims fear the stalking will never stop.
 1 in 8 employed stalking victims lose time from work as a result of
their victimization and more than half lose 5 days of work or
 1 in 7 stalking victims move as a result of their victimization.
[Baum et al., (2009). "Stalking Victimization in the United States." BJS.]
 2/3 of stalkers pursue their victims at least once per week,
many daily, using more than one method.
78% of stalkers use more than one means of approach.
Weapons are used to harm or threaten victims in 1 out of 5
Almost 1/3 of stalkers have stalked before.
Intimate partner stalkers frequently approach their targets,
and their behaviors escalate quickly.
Kris Mohandie et al., "The RECON Typology of Stalking: Reliability and Validity
Based upon a Large Sample of North American Stalkers," Journal of Forensic
Sciences 51, no. 1 (2006).]
Stalking -> Homicide
 76% of intimate partner female homicide victims have been
stalked by their intimate partner.
 67% had been physically abused by their intimate partner.
 54% of female homicide victims reported stalking to police
before they were killed by their stalkers.
Judith McFarlane et al., "Stalking and Intimate Partner Femicide," Homicide Studies 3, no.
4 (1999).]
What do These Statistics Tell Us?
 There is a very big connection between DV & stalking.
 Also connection between stalking and Sexual Assault.
 Stalking is a huge risk factor for homicide.
 Stalking affects millions of people.
Stalking is a Red Flag for Homicide
While not all stalking perpetrators kill, most perpetrators of
domestic abuse who kill, have stalked their victims.
Relationship Between the Stalker
and the Victim
Stalking Law 940.32 –
Four Elements
Stalking Law 940.32
D intentionally engaged in a course of conduct directed at
The course of conduct would have caused a reasonable
person [to suffer emotional distress] [to fear bodily injury
or death to (himself) (herself) (a member of (his) (her)
(family) (household))].
Stalking Law
3. D’s acts [caused V to suffer serious emotional distress]
[induced fear in V of bodily injury or death to (himself)
(herself) (a member of (his) (her) (family) (household))].
4. D knew or should have known that at least on of the acts
constituting the course of conduct would [caused V to
suffer serious emotional distress] [induced fear in V of
bodily injury or death to (himself) (herself) (a member of
(his) (her) (family) (household))].
Stalking Law 940.32
What Does it Mean??
Definition: Course of Conduct
 (1)(a) “course of conduct” means a series of 2 or more acts
carried out over a period of time, however short or long, that
show a continuity of purpose, including the following:
Definition: Course of Conduct
1. Maintaining visual or physical proximity to the victim.
2. Approaching or confronting the victim.
3. Appearing at the victim’s workplace or contacting the
victim’s employer or coworkers.
4. Appearing at the victim’s home or contacting the victim’s
Definition: Course of Conduct
5. Entering property owned, leased, or occupied by the victim.
6. Contacting the victim by telephone or causing the victim’s
telephone or any other person’s telephone to ring repeatedly
or continuously, regardless of whether a conversation ensues.
Definition: Course of Conduct
6m Photographing, videotaping, audiotaping, or, through any
other electronic means, monitoring or recording the
activities of the victim, regardless of where the act occurs;
Definition: Course of Conduct
7. Sending material by any means to the victim or, for the
purpose of obtaining information about, disseminating
information about, or communicating with the victim ,
to a member or the victim’s family or household or an
employer, coworker, or friend of the victim.
8. Placing an object on or delivering an object to property
owned, leased or occupied by the victim.
Definition: Course of Conduct
9. Delivering an object to a member of the victim’s family or
household or an employer, coworker, or friend of the victim
or placing an object on, or delivering an object to, property
owned, leased, or occupied by such person with the intent
that the object be delivered to the victim.
10. Causing a person to engage in any of the acts described in
subsections 1 – 9.
 It is not required that the acts constituting the course of
conduct be a crime in themselves for them to be charged as
part of stalking;
 But if they are crimes, they can be charged in addition to
Course of Conduct
Two Acts—Continuity of Purpose
Need not act over a specific period of time!
State v. Eichorn,
2010 WL 1658620
 Stranger case:
 Defendant, 66. years old, drove up to bus stop, rolled
down his passenger-side window
 D asked 17 year old victim if he could give her a ride
 D told victim five times that he wanted to take her
 He followed the bus and made contact again.
State v. Eichorn,
2010 WL 1658620
 “there is no temporal limitation to “course
of conduct”
 course of conduct in less than 15 minutes
Need to Document FEAR
 Since stalking statutes criminalize what otherwise would be
legitimate behavior based upon the fact that the behavior
induces fear, the level of fear induced in a stalking victim
is a crucial element of the stalking offense
VENUE—2 or more acts means that so long as ONE is in
your county, that’s enough to give your county jurisdiction.
See 971.19(2), where a crime which requires 2 or more acts
to commit can be prosecuted in any county in which one of
the acts occurred.
Definitions: Member of Family and Member
of a Household
(cb) Member of a family means a spouse, parent, child sibling
or any other person who is related by blood or adoption to
(cd) Member of a household means a person who regularly
resides in the household of another or who with the
previous 6 months regularly resided in the household of
Definition: Severe Emotional Distress
 Suffer Severe emotional distress : means to
feel terrified, intimidated, threatened,
harassed, or tormented.
 Does not require treatment from a
mental health professional.
No Contact Orders
 72 no contact
 bail condition
 probation or extended supervision condition
 restraining order or injunction order
 family court order
 Stalking warning letter
The Investigation
 Treat seriously—high lethality potential
 Educate Victim
 What is stalking
 Different kinds of threats
 That pattern will not end with police investigation
 Get facts first, then approach fear issue. Victim may be
less fearful than needs to be and more annoyed.
 Can you guarantee safety?
The Investigation
 Collect all notes, gifts, message tapes from victim
 Enlist victim in collecting evidence log, including how
contact made victim feel and for how long
 Screen calls
 Answering machine tapes
 Have victim report all contacts
The Investigation
 Interview Victim
 Series of events so victim may need time to think and process
 Most recent, worst, what was the first behavior, etc.
 How did suspect meet victim
 How to locate suspect
 Prior relationships (other victims)
 No false promises to victims:
 Can you guarantee safety?
The Investigation
 If victim feels it is not safe to get TRO, explore reasons.
Victim may be right.
 If suspect is at large, ask victim for a photo
 Discourage victim form any contact with the suspect.
 Any contact is good contact to the stalker
The Investigation
 Interview victim about suspect’s……
 Family members
 Best friends
 Hangouts
 Employment, past employers
 Vehicles, storage lockers,
 Post office boxes, email addresses, cell phone #’s, pagers, and
any previous addresses
 Financial information such as credit and banking cards for
tracking purposes
The Investigation
 Always do a search warrant
 Look for evidence of obsession
 Shrines in home or work
 Evidence of criminal behavior
 Journals or diaries of victim
 and/or other family members
The Investigation
 If no violation, contact the stalker and advise of consequences
 Conduct surveillance if high risk lethality
 Apprehend for EVERY violation
 Visit each crime scene (photograph, measure, video,
 Make presentation to DA
The Investigation
 Advise Judge of past
activities and request high
 Anticipate every case will
be taken to trial by the
stalker and prepare victim
Questions for the Victim
 Has the suspect ever threatened you?
 Has the suspect ever attempted to assault or assaulted
 Has the suspect ever threatened or been physically
violent with someone other than you ?
 Has the suspect committed any other violent act?
 Do you ever initiate contact with the suspect? For What
Preparing the victim for future incidents
 Inform all of the neighbors, co-workers, receptionist, and the
security staff where you live or work. Prepare them for the
possibility that the stalker may look for you there and ask them to
support you . Do the same with the key people in the
organizations to which you may belong. The moment the stalker
shows up in a work or social setting is not the time to explain the
situation to everyone.
 Consider getting a cell phone.
 Do not keep secrets about the stalker or his activities.
 Report every encounter to someone immediately
Preparing the victim for future incidents
 Seek support from people who understand. Avoid people who minimize the
problem and tell you that you are overreacting.
Do workouts with a buddy if you jog or go work out a club. (This will make
the victim feel safer and will also provide a witness if the stalker approaches
Don’t walk alone or jog at night.
Ask security for escorts to car if necessary. Alternate secure or close parking
arrangements if possible.
If the victim is an employee, provide copy of RO to supervisor, provide picture.
Emergency contact person if employer is unable to contact the employee.
Safety in the workplace is big consideration.
Victim Issues
 Experts suggest that where the offender is known the
victim should send a clear written warning, CEASEUNWANTED
 Under no circumstances should they continue to
communicate with the stalker
 Victim should save all communications, record dates and
times, emails etc.
 Victim may wish to file a complaint with their ISP and or
Stalkers ISP (if cyberstalking)
Victim Issues cont.
 Victim may wish to change ISP, look into privacy programs
 Victim should seek help/support from family/friends and
law enforcement.
 Safety planning: before criminal charges are brought, at
arraignment, pending trial, after trial or disposition.
Creating a Safety Plan
o Safety planning can be complex, it is helpful to enlist the
assistance of a trained advocate and reach out to other resources
o Don’t underestimate the stalker’s potential for violence
o A victim who knows the stalker is the true expert on her safety
o Do not attempt to communicate with the stalker
o If you are being followed, go to a safe, public area (police
station)- don’t go home
o Get a new, unlisted phone number and use an answering
o Try to travel in a group or with friends
Safety Plan Advice for Victims
o When going to your car ask co-workers to walk you there or
watch you safely get in
o Lock all doors and windows in your car and house, even if
you are inside
o Keep a Stalking Log- save all evidence
o Report stalking to the police
CASE NO.: 2008AP658-CR
State of Wisconsin, Plaintiff-Respondent, v.
Michael A. Sveum, Defendant-AppellantPetitioner.
2009 WI App 81 Reported at: 319 Wis. 2d 498, 769 N.W.2d 53
(Ct. App. 2009-Published)
OPINION FILED: July 20, 2010
Using a GPS Stalking the Stalker
“The officers entered the driveway to install the GPS
device in Sveum's vehicle. Installation was achieved simply, by attaching
the device with magnets and tape to the vehicle's undercarriage.
Maintenance of the GPS device included replacing the device twice, due to
its limited battery life. Both replacement devices were installed in the
same manner as the first.
After monitoring Sveum's vehicle for 35 days, the
officers removed the GPS device. Execution in this manner stayed well
within the confines of the authority granted by the Order…”
Using a GPS Stalking the Stalker
Additionally, "[t]here is no indication that [law enforcement's]
intrusion went beyond what was necessary to install and remove
the equipment." Indeed, the officers did not enter any building,
including Sveum's home, nor did they access the passenger
compartment or the trunk of the vehicle during installation,
maintenance and removal of the GPS device. Additionally, the
officers replaced the GPS devices only as was necessary and in the
same minimally intrusive manner as the initial installation.
Using a GPS Stalking the Stalker
 We similarly conclude that the complex, ongoing nature of
stalking justified the 35 days of GPS surveillance on a single search
 Evidence sufficient to demonstrate Sveum's stalking
required…data demonstrating Sveum engaged in "a series of 2 or
more acts carried out over time," inducing Johnson to fear bodily
or death..
Using a GPS Stalking the Stalker
A search obtaining this type of evidence could not have
been completed in a single day. Moreover, the daily,
continuous monitoring of the GPS device on Sveum's
vehicle "were not separate searches requiring separate
warrants, but instead were simply reasonable
continuations of
the original search." Accordingly, the officers were not
required to obtain additional search warrants for each
day the GPS monitoring continued.
Sample Stalking Warning Letter
The Madison Police Department has recently investigated a complaint about your
behavior toward the above-named individual.
The behavior you have engaged in could be interpreted as “stalking” as defined by WI
State Statute 940.32. Stalking can be described as intentionally engaging in a course of
conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person under the
same circumstances to suffer serious emotional distress, or place the specific person in
reasonable fear of bodily injury.Your behavior has induced such fear or distress in the
above named individual.
The Wisconsin law makes stalking a crime. The Madison Police Department takes this law
very seriously.
Please consider this a formal warning that any future stalking behavior done by you
towards the above named individual could result in arrest by law enforcement and
prosecution by the Dane County District Attorney’s Office.

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