Intimate Partner Stalking: Impact on Children, Friends and Family

This Web page is based on Research on Partner Stalking: Putting the Pieces Together (pdf, 27 pages), prepared by T.K. Logan for NIJ.

Intimate partner stalking can be affected by and have an effect on children, friends and family.

  • Having children in common with a stalker may increase the likelihood of interaction or more difficulty in changing routines, thus increasing the opportunity for the stalker to access the victim. [1] [2]
  • Partner stalking victims may experience more threats about the children than partner violence victims who do not report being stalked (e.g., threatening to obtain custody of children, sending threats through children, actually threatening to harm the children, and kidnapping or threatening to kidnap children). [3-5]
  • Researchers report that partner stalking victims and violent partners with children in common are 8.4 times more likely to experience threats of child harm or interference after obtaining a protective order than partner violence victims who were not stalked. [6]
  • Having children in common with the stalker also may increase the likelihood of harassment through the court system or child protective services. [7-9] Researchers found that some mothers feared that child custody could be threatened if child protective services or the courts believed the children were at risk in the home or that the mother was "unfit," as this is the message the partner often conveyed during the course of stalking. [10]
  • Mothers were concerned for their children's safety, and children sometimes fear the stalker or what the stalker might do. [11]

Partner stalking victims are impacted socially.

  • Women experiencing stalking often become disconnected from their social networks or social opportunities. [12-17]
  • Friends, family and new partners are vulnerable to threats, harassment and actual assault by the stalker. [18] Friends and family of partner stalking victims were 4.5 times more likely to have been threatened, harassed or actually assaulted than those who were not stalked. [19]

Notes

[1] [3] [7] [13] Brewster, M., "Power and Control Dynamics in Pre-stalking and Stalking Situations," Journal of Family Violence 18(4) (2003): 207-217.

[2] [4] [8] [10] [11] [16] [18] Logan, T., J. Cole, L. Shannon and R. Walker, Partner Stalking: How Women Respond, Cope, and Survive, New York: Springer Publishing, 2006.

[5] [9] Mechanic, M., M. Uhlmansiek, T. Weaver and P. Resick, "The Impact of Severe Stalking Experienced by Acutely Battered Women: An Examination of Violence, Psychological Symptoms and Strategic Responding," Violence and Victims 15(4) (2000): 443-458.

[6] [19] Logan, T., and R. Walker, "Toward a Deeper Understanding of the Harms Caused by Partner Stalking," Violence and Victims 25(4) (2010): 440-455.

[12] Blaauw, E., F. Winkel, E. Arensman, L. Sheridan and A. Freeve, "The Toll of Stalking: The Relationship Between Features of Stalking and Psychopathology of Victims," Journal of Interpersonal Violence 17(1) (2002): 50-63.

[14] Cupach, W., & B. Spitzberg, "Obsessive Relational Intrusion: Incidence, Perceived Severity, and Coping," Violence and Victims 15(4) (2000): 357-372.

[15] Kamphuis, J., and P. Emmelkamp, "Traumatic Distress Among Support-Seeking Female Victims of Stalking," American Journal of Psychiatry 158(5) (2001): 795-798.

[17] Spitzberg, B., "The Tactical Topography of Stalking Victimization and Management," Trauma, Violence, and Abuse 3(4) (2000): 261-288.

Date Created: April 20, 2012