The ‘Domestic’ in Stalking: Police and the Law in the Act
The Alternative Law Journal, Vol. 24, No. 4, pp. 165-169, 174, 1999
15 Pages Posted: 22 Nov 2009 Last revised: 20 Jun 2018
Date Written: 1999
Stalking is a series of one or more specific behaviours, directed at, and designed to frighten a particular victim. The stalker may follow the victim, keep the person under surveillance, send letters or telephone, damage property or leave material where it is likely to be found by the victim. As we will see below, in a significant percentage of stalking cases the relationship between the perpetrator and victim is that of people formerly in an intimate relationship. Since there is a traditional reluctance of police to get involved in the private sphere (in the context of marital relations in any case), we were interested in identifying how they deal with ‘domestic’ stalking complaints. After overviewing the nature of this type of stalking, the criminal justice response of the past and the current anti-stalking legislation in the ACT, we explore the police response to it through a survey of the Australian Federal Police (AFP) and interviews with various ‘players’ in the legal systems in the ACT and the other Australian jurisdictions. Recognising the complex dynamic between the substance of legislation and police practices, we consequently make recommendations about reform in both areas.
Keywords: stalking, domestic
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