A recent UK study of stalking and harassment reports came to some alarming conclusions. Although the report concerns British policing, US agencies might find it a useful tool for reviewing their own policies and practices.
Here are some questions that agencies can ask:
- Do officers know the difference between harassment and stalking (which is a much more dangerous crime)?
- Do officers take steps to make harassment and stalking victims feel more safe – or do they blame victims?
- Do officers ever tell victims that it’s up to them to take steps to protect themselves?
Most important (our focus here):
- Do officers file reports for every harassment and stalking case?
The UK study, which looked at a sample of 112 stalking and harassment cases, found that:
- none of the cases were handled well
- fewer than 40% showed that victims were provided with a risk-management plan
- some victims were told the problems were their fault because they used Facebook and other social media
- only one-fourth of the cases were handled by detectives
- in a number of cases, police took no legal action despite victims’ repeated requests for help
An article at this link includes useful information about the differences between harassment and stalking.