SEX AND VIOLENCE IN A FORENSIC POPULATION OF OBSESSIONAL HARASSERS

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Abstract

Stalking has been viewed as an offense primarily related to either domestic violence or sexual predation. This article takes the approach that there are many different motives for stalking, not all of which are sexual. Records of obsessional harassers referred to the Bellevue Hospital Center Forensic Psychiatry Clinic for the New York County Criminal and Supreme Courts between 1987 and 1996 were studied with regard to classifying the relationship between the stalker and the target, the motive for the stalking, and whether violence was documented. The authors conclude that some individuals will harass a target for nonromantic reasons and that romantically motivated stalkers and nonromantically motivated stalkers are equally likely to act out violently. The authors also conclude that the threat of violence from obsessional stalkers should be taken seriously by targets, close associates of targets, and law enforcement personnel.

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