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Stalking and Domestic Violence

Examine the connection between stalking and domestic violence. Be sure to discuss the laws surrounding both of these issues and any difficulties that may arise in detection and/or prosecution?

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The literature on stalkers identifies six types: fans, scorned lovers, lust, random, domestic and single issue. There are plenty more. However, the data suggest that the more intimate the stalker is to the victim, the better the chance of violence. Certain days like Valentines Day, or Mothers Day have a higher rate of violence.

Risk is higher for people who have just broken up. Younger females, under 30, are the most vulnerable. 76% of young female murder cases began with stalking. The greatest risk factors of violence when a former partner is stalking are those who make direct threats, are prone to jealousy, or drugs are involved. When all three are involved, the risk goes up further.

Stalking suggests that the victim is his property. If spurned, the stalker is often motivated by the thought that if I cannot have her, than no one can. Control is the proximate goal. Stalking is normally defined as a pattern of harassment that a "reasonable person" would interpret as causing significant fear.

Stalking laws, especially internet stalking, is technically illegal in all 50 states. However, all 50 states have also seen a flood of litigation on these questions. Use of terms such as "annoy" invite litigation. Many of the laws remain vague. Stalking and harassment by phone normally is litigated according to the intention of the caller, not the reaction of the victim. Courts have stuck down "fighting words" as too broad and impossible to enforce. This is really not a staking issue regardless, though the DOJ thinks it is.

In New Mexico, State of NM v Duran, 1998 NMCA-153 held that there is nothing vague about the word "harassment." it is defined as the reasonable belief that a pattern of unwanted behavior would lead to violence or terror. In Jones v. State, 2011 Ga. App. LEXIS 638 a recently divorced man stalked his ex-wife and hit her twice. The issue was over the term "surveillance." The Georgia court, again, stated that it is about "reasonable" views on the intent to cause harm.

In New Jersey, "domestic violence" is defined as "any person who is 18 years of age or older or who is an emancipated minor and who has been subjected to domestic violence by a spouse, former spouse, or any other person who is a present or former household member. Domestic violence is defined as "the occurrence of one or more" of a list of enumerated acts, which include harassment and stalking." In F.L. v. L.A.B., 2011 N.J. Super. Unpub. LEXIS 1821, a father was ...

Solution Summary

The solution examines the connection between stalking and domestic violence.