According to a 2010 survey by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an estimated 1.4 million women in Texas experience stalking during their lifetimes. Despite recent laws adopted in the state to protect stalking victims, little information is available about the crime or policies and procedures to aid the criminal justice system, according to a report from the Crime Victims' Institute (CVI).
According to CDC estimates, 15.6 percent of the female population in Texas will experience stalking, slightly less than the 16.2 percent national average of female victims. Little information is available in Texas for male victims of stalking, although nationally, 5.2 percent of men experience the crime. More data is needed to ensure that Texas laws and policies are addressing the issue, CVI said.
This is Nicole Wilkes of the Crime Victims' Institute.
Credit: Harriet McHale/SHSU
"Stalking in Texas – 2014" is the first in a series of reports that will be issued by CVI on this crime. The next study will examine the perceptions of campus police on stalking cases, which are most prominent among college-aged women and are required to be reported under the new Campus Sexual Violence Elimination Act of 2013 (Campus SaVE).
Stalking is generally defined as a course of conduct directed at a specific person that causes fear. It may include efforts to harass, annoy, alarm, abuse, torment or embarrass an individual by using obscene communication, threatening bodily harm, falsely reporting another person's death or injury, or repeatedly calling by phone or sending electronic messages. These communications can be directed at the victims, their families or households, or partners.
Texas has laws against stalking, which makes it a second or third degree felony depending on the number of offenses. In 2011, the state passed laws allowing victims to file protective orders against perpetrators of the crime and, in 2012, Texas was one of 12 states to allow stalking charges to be processed through civil courts to compel financial compensation for victims.
According to research based on a national survey, nearly half of all stalking victims experience at least one unwanted contact per week, with nearly one-quarter reporting harassment on a daily basis. The majority of victims express that the stalking behaviors have occurred for more than six months, with more than one in ten victims reporting occurrences for more than five years. More than half of stalking victims express fear for themselves, their children or other family members, and victims frequently miss work for fear of being stalked.
Research also indicates that stalking victims experience various economic, social, physical and mental difficulties as a result of this crime, including increased anxiety, flashbacks and nightmares, suicidal ruminations, and post-traumatic stress disorder.
More than one out of every four victims report being stalked via electronic devices or through the Internet, including cordless and cell phones, email, GPS systems, online databases, and cameras. The most common forms of cyberstalking were email, video and digital cameras, listening devices/bugs, and instant messenger.
Stalking presents unique challenges in the criminal justice system because there generally isn't much evidence to investigate, law enforcement must rely heavily on the victim to investigate and collect evidence and, when stalking occurs after a romantic relationship, it often become a battle of "he said" vs. "she said." As a result, a 2003 study found that most stalking cases are dismissed by authorities.
To address these issues, the Crime Victims' Institute recommends that Texas needs to increase data collection and reporting on stalking and also to keep track of stalking protective orders.
The report include resources for victims, including the National Center for Victims of Crime. January is National Stalking Awareness Month and the Texas Attorney General's Office maintains information on stalking. The Texas Family Violence Legal Hotline is available to victims at 1-800-274-4673. Oftentimes, local domestic violence programs and/or rape crisis centers will assist victims of stalking if individuals are seeking assistance in their community.
The full report is available at http://www.crimevictimsinstitute.org/publications/?mode=cat&input=Stalking%20Series
Beth Kuhles | Eurek Alert!
Thickness of grey matter predicts ability to recognize faces and objects
10.11.2015 | Vanderbilt University
Intergenerational cohesion in Europe is strong
04.11.2015 | Max Planck Institute for Social Law and Social Policy, München
Planet Earth experienced a global climate shift in the late 1980s on an unprecedented scale, fuelled by anthropogenic warming and a volcanic eruption, according to new research published this week.
Scientists say that a major step change, or ‘regime shift’, in the Earth’s biophysical systems, from the upper atmosphere to the depths of the ocean and from...
The Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE has installed 70 photovoltaic modules on the outer façade of one of its lab buildings. The modules were...
Nerve cells cover their high energy demand with glucose and lactate. Scientists of the University of Zurich now provide new support for this. They show for the first time in the intact mouse brain evidence for an exchange of lactate between different brain cells. With this study they were able to confirm a 20-year old hypothesis.
In comparison to other organs, the human brain has the highest energy requirements. The supply of energy for nerve cells and the particular role of lactic acid...
In laser material processing, the simulation of processes has made great strides over the past few years. Today, the software can predict relatively well what will happen on the workpiece. Unfortunately, it is also highly complex and requires a lot of computing time. Thanks to clever simplification, experts from Fraunhofer ILT are now able to offer the first-ever simulation software that calculates processes in real time and also runs on tablet computers and smartphones. The fast software enables users to do without expensive experiments and to find optimum process parameters even more effectively.
Before now, the reliable simulation of laser processes was a job for experts. Armed with sophisticated software packages and after many hours on computer...
Researchers at Heidelberg University have devised a new way to study the phenomenon of magnetism. Using ultracold atoms at near absolute zero, they prepared a...
25.11.2015 | Event News
17.11.2015 | Event News
21.10.2015 | Event News
27.11.2015 | Press release
27.11.2015 | Life Sciences
27.11.2015 | Materials Sciences