The role of stalking in domestic violence crime reports generated by the Colorado Springs Police Department

A review of 1,785 domestic violence crime reports generated by the Colorado Springs Police Department found that 1 in 6 (16.5 percent) contained evidence the suspect stalked the victim. Female victims were significantly more likely than male victims to allege stalking by their partners (18.3 vs. 10.5%). Most stalkers were former rather than current intimates. Regardless of victims' gender, reports with stalking allegations were significantly less likely to mention physical abuse or victim injury in the presenting condition, to involve households with children, or to involve victims and suspects who were using alcohol at the time of the report. Female victims who alleged stalking by their partner were significantly less likely than female victims who did not allege stalking to be emotionally distraught at the time of the report, but significantly more likely to have an active restraining order against the suspect, and to sign releases to facilitate the police investigation. Police almost never charged domestic violence stalking suspects with stalking, preferring instead to charge them with harassment or violation of a restraining order.
Author: 
Tjaden,Patricia
Thoennes,Nancy
Reprint Status: 
IN FILE
Start Page: 
427
End Page: 
441
Journal/Periodical Name: 
Violence and Victims
Volume: 
15
Issue: 
4
Abstract: 
The purpose of this study is to evaluate the role of stalking in domestic violence situations. A sample of 1,785 domestic violence reports provided by the Colorado Springs Police Department was examined. The areas of interest include: (a) the prevalence of stalking in domestic violence reports, (b) risk factors associated with domestic violence stalking, (c) the rate at which intimate partner stalkers are charged, (d) similar conditions across domestic violence reports which include stalking, and (e) the outcome of domestic violence reports that include stalking compared to those that do not. Results indicate that women are more likely to report being stalked than men. Most stalking suspects were former intimates, not current partners. The domestic violence reports which included allegations of stalking were less likely to reveal that alcohol was used by the suspect and the victim at the time of the incident. Also, female stalking victims were less distraught when reporting the incident than other types of domestic violence victims. Colorado Spring police officers were more inclined to charge domestic violence stalking suspects with alternate crimes such as harassment.
Topic Areas: 
Alcohol, Male-Female Relations, Stalking
Reference Type: 
JOUR
Reference ID: 
1929
Publication Date: 
2000