Practical Implications of Current Domestic Violence Research: For Law Enforcement, Prosecutors and Judges

Published June 2009

Chapter 2. Reporting and Arrests

Section 9 — Do stalking arrests correspond to actual stalking rates as reported by victims?

Stalking arrests are rare, nowhere near the estimated number of stalkers. [207] A pioneering study determined that, although 16.5 percent (in a sample of 1,731) of all domestic violence incident reports filed in Colorado Springs, Colo., involved stalking, in all but one incident the suspect was charged with a lesser offense — harassment, violation of a protective order, or another nonstalking domestic violence offense. [210]

Implications for Law Enforcement

If stalking arrests constitute a negligible proportion of all domestic violence arrests, departments should undertake a legal, policy and practice review to determine barriers to the enforcement of stalking statutes. Law enforcement officers should receive training on stalking behavior and statutes. Not only may charging abusers with stalking more accurately reflect their behavior but also stalking charges are more likely to constitute felonies in many jurisdictions than are alternative domestic offense charges. (Research basis: National surveys supplemented by multiple domestic violence arrest studies from disparate jurisdictions across the country.)

Date Created: June 5, 2009