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A Statewide Study of Stalking and Its Criminal Justice Response
Advocates for Human Potential, Inc.
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The study found that when police identified stalking in a domestic-violence case, the offender was more likely to be arrested and prosecuted compared to domestic-violence cases in which stalking was present but not identified by police. In addition, stalkers of intimate partners without prior criminal histories who were identified by police in reported domestic-violence cases were significantly less likely to be charged with new domestic violence up to 6 years after police intervention; however, the criminal justice response to stalking was compromised by the under-identification of stalkers by police, compounded by prosecutors' charge reduction and case dismissals when police did make stalking arrests. Police, prosecutors, and judges have tended to view intimate stalkers as less dangerous than stranger stalkers or abusers arrested for physical assaults. This view was contradicted by the study's finding that victims of domestic abuse who were stalked by their former partners were more likely to report threats as well as prior assaults. This should encourage police to focus on determining whether the crime of stalking is involved in a reported domestic-violence case. The study, which was conducted during 2007-2008, used a mixed-methods design. The quantitative component compared all stalking incidents identified by Rhode Island State police between 2001 and 2005 with a sample of reported domestic-violence cases over the same years that involved stalking, but did not involve stalking charges being brought by police. 21 exhibits, 85 references, and appended interview protocol, stalking classification template, discussion of State stalking laws, and domestic violence/sexual assault reporting form source
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