National Archive of Criminal Justice Data

This dataset is maintained and distributed by the National Archive of Criminal Justice Data (NACJD), the criminal justice archive within ICPSR. NACJD is primarily sponsored by three agencies within the U.S. Department of Justice: the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the National Institute of Justice, and the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.

Experiences and Needs of Formerly Intimate Stalking Victims in Southeastern Pennsylvania, 1991-1995 (ICPSR 2899) RSS

Principal Investigator(s):

Summary:

This study sought to explore the nature of the stalking experiences of noncelebrity stalking victims who had previously been in intimate relationships with their stalkers. These were cases in which the stalkers were seeking revenge and/or reconciliation through stalking. Data were collected from 187 female stalking victims during 1991-1995 living in Chester, Delaware, Bucks, Philadelphia, and Montgomery counties in southeastern Pennsylvania. Data collection was comprised of an extensive, semistructured, face-to-face interview conducted with each woman to gather information concerning the nature of the stalking, the relationship between the victim and the stalker, the victim's response to the stalking, the consequences of the stalking for the victim, the needs of stalking victims in general, and fulfillment of those needs in terms of victim services and interaction with and cooperation from the criminal justice system. A brief survey questionnaire was also administered to obtain demographic information about each victim and her stalker. Content analysis of the interview transcripts was used to identify variables. Each variable fell into one of six categories: (1) victim's prior relationship with the stalker, (2) characteristics of the stalking, (3) victim's attempt to discourage the stalker (through both legal and extralegal mechanisms), (4) assistance sought by the victim through formal and informal networks and the subsequent handling of the situation by others, (5) the physical and emotional effects of the stalking on the victim, and (6) other victimization experiences. Demographic variables include the age, race, education level, marital status, and employment status of both the victim and the stalker.

Access Notes

  • These data are freely available.

Dataset(s)

Experiences and Needs of Formerly Intimate Stalking Victims in Southeastern Pennsylvania, 1991-1995. - Download All Files (1,443 KB)

Study Description

Citation

Brewster, Mary P. EXPERIENCES AND NEEDS OF FORMERLY INTIMATE STALKING VICTIMS IN SOUTHEASTERN PENNSYLVANIA, 1991-1995. ICPSR version. West Chester, PA: West Chester University [producer], 1998. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2000. doi:10.3886/ICPSR02899.v1

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Funding

This study was funded by:

  • United States Department of Justice. Office of Justice Programs. National Institute of Justice (95-WT-NX-0002)

Scope of Study

Subject Terms:   criminal justice system, demographic characteristics, needs assessment, relationships, stalking, victim services, victims, women

Geographic Coverage:   Pennsylvania, United States

Time Period:  

  • 1991--1995

Date of Collection:  

  • 1996-01--1997-07

Unit of Observation:   Individuals.

Universe:   Formerly intimate female stalking victims in southeastern Pennsylvania.

Data Types:   survey data

Data Collection Notes:

The user guide and codebook are provided as a Portable Document Format (PDF) file. The PDF file format was developed by Adobe Systems Incorporated and can be accessed using PDF reader software, such as the Adobe Acrobat Reader. Information on how to obtain a copy of the Acrobat Reader is provided on the ICPSR Website.

Methodology

Study Purpose:   Stalking is estimated to be a widespread problem in the United States, affecting people of all walks of life. However, previous research on stalking and victims of stalking has been scant. Most research addressing the stalking issue has been either primarily legal in nature or focused solely on high-profile cases involving celebrities and political leaders, although victims of stalkings are, more often than not, "everyday, ordinary people." Few studies have investigated the incidence and nature of noncelebrity stalking victimization. Moreover, these studies have often concentrated on many different types of stalkings (e.g., current intimate, former intimate, acquaintance, stranger, erotomanic, and sociopathic/psychopathic stalkings), rather than researching any one particular type of stalking. The purpose of this study was to explore the nature of the stalking experiences of noncelebrity stalking victims who had previously been in an intimate relationship with their stalkers. These were cases in which the stalkers were seeking revenge and/or reconciliation through stalking.

Study Design:   Data were collected from 187 female stalking victims during 1991-1995 living in Chester, Delaware, Bucks, Philadelphia, and Montgomery counties in southeastern Pennsylvania. An extensive, semistructured, face-to-face interview was conducted with each woman to gather information concerning the nature of the stalking, the relationship between the victim and stalker, the victim's response to the stalking, the consequences of the stalking for the victim, the needs of stalking victims in general, and fulfillment of those needs in terms of victim services and interaction with and cooperation from the criminal justice system. The specific interview questions were based on a review of the limited literature on stalking, as well as on general victimization literature. Each interview, lasting between one and three hours, consisted of both open-ended and fixed alternative questions, and respondents were allowed to elaborate following every question. Each interview began by requesting the victim to describe her stalking victimization in her own words. Responses to this question lasted anywhere from five minutes to two hours. Following the initial question, the remaining interview questions were asked. Due to the nature and length of the interviews, each interview was tape-recorded and later transcribed. Content analysis of the interview transcripts was used to identify variables. However, because of the semistructured approach taken in conducting the interviews, not all respondents provided data pertaining to every variable. A brief survey questionnaire was also administered to obtain demographic information about each victim and her stalker.

Sample:   Convenience sampling.

Data Source:

personal interviews and self-enumerated questionnaires

Description of Variables:   Each variable fell into one of six categories: (1) victim's prior relationship with the stalker, (2) characteristics of the stalking (e.g., phone calls, letters, veiled or conditional threats), (3) victim's attempt to discourage the stalker (through both legal and extralegal mechanisms), (4) assistance sought by the victim through formal and informal networks, and the subsequent handling of the situation by family, friends, the police, prosecutors, judges, and psychologists (specifically their politeness, sympathy, and helpfulness), (5) the physical and emotional effects of the stalking on the victim (in particular, trouble sleeping, nightmares, weight loss, loneliness, sadness, flashbacks, headaches, stomach problems, uncontrollable crying, depression, dizziness, feelings of guilt, anger, and anxiety attacks), and (6) other victimization experiences, and their seriousness and severity of harmfulness to the victim. Other variables concern physical triggers within the relationship leading to the stalking, the types of physical violence and injuries sustained by both the victim and the stalker before and during the stalking, the number of months the stalking took place, the stalker's prior offenses, convictions, and prison sentences, changes in the victim's security habits, and stalking-related financial costs incurred by the victim. Demographic variables include the age, race, education level, marital status, and employment status of both the victim and the stalker.

Response Rates:   Not available.

Presence of Common Scales:   Several Likert-type scales were used.

Extent of Processing:  ICPSR data undergo a confidentiality review and are altered when necessary to limit the risk of disclosure. ICPSR also routinely creates ready-to-go data files along with setups in the major statistical software formats as well as standard codebooks to accompany the data. In addition to these procedures, ICPSR performed the following processing steps for this data collection:

  • Standardized missing values.
  • Checked for undocumented or out-of-range codes.

Version(s)

Original ICPSR Release:  

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