Intimate Partner Stalking: Duration and Trajectory

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

The average duration of partner stalking appears to be just over two years. The vast majority of partner stalking victims report the stalking began while the relationship was intact and escalated during periods of separation.

Further partner stalking victims report separating more frequently in the past compared to partner violence victims who were not stalked. Once a protective order is obtained, stalking victims are are less likely to reconcile.

  • Studies suggest the average length of partner stalking is approximately 2.2 years and one study reported the median partner stalking duration as 12 months. [1] [2]
  • Partner stalking is often initiated during the relationship. For example:
    • 57 percent of stalking victims were stalked during the relationship. [3] 
    • Between 63 and 69 percent of attempted femicide or actual femicide victims were stalked while in the relationship. [4]
  • Studies of partner stalking within the context of prior abusive relationships find even higher rates of stalking initiation during the relationship, with ranges of 81-90 percent. [5] [6]
  • Partner stalking is common during periods of separation, with several studies suggesting that stalking intensity and/or frequency increases during periods of separation. [7-10]
  • Partner stalking make separation or staying separated very difficult [11] [12]; stalking during separation may increase the risk of violence. [13] [14]
  • Victims stalked by violent partners report more separation attempts than partner violence victims who were not stalked.[15] [16] Yet, several studies indicate that partner stalking victims were less likely to reconcile with the stalker after a protective order was obtained than victims with protective orders who were not being stalked. [17-19]

Notes

[1] Brewster, M., "Exploration of the Experiences and Needs of Former Intimate Partner Stalking Victims," final report to the National Institute of Justice, grant number 1995-WT-NX0002, Washington, DC: National Institute of Justice, 2000.

[2] [3] Tjaden, P., and N. Thoennes, "Stalking in America: Findings from the National Violence Against Women Survey," Research Report, Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice, National Institute of Justice and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1998, NCJ 169592.

[4] Willson, P., J. McFarlane, A. Malecha, K. Watson, D. Lemmey, P. Schultz, J. Gist and N. Fredland, "Severity of Violence Against Women by Intimate Partners and Associated Use of Alcohol and/or Illicit Drugs by the Perpetrator," Journal of Interpersonal Violence 15(9) (2000): 996-1008.

[5] [7] Logan, T., J. Cole, L. Shannon and R. Walker, Partner Stalking: How Women Respond, Cope, and Survive, New York: Springer Publishing, 2006.

[6] [10] Melton, H., "Stalking in the Context of Intimate Partner Abuse: In the Victim's Words," Feminist Criminology 2(4) (2007): 347-363.

[8] McFarlane, J., J. Campbell, S. Wilt, C. Sachs, Y. Ulrich and X. Xu, "Stalking and Intimate Partner Femicide," Homicide Studies 3(4) (1999): 300-316.

[9] [16] 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.

[11] [13] Logan, T., R. Walker, C. Jordan and J. Campbell, "An Integrative Review of Separation and Victimization Among Women: Consequences and Implications," Violence, Trauma, and Abuse 5(2) (2004): 143-193.

[12] [14] [19] Logan, T., R. Walker, L. Shannon and J. Cole, "Factors Associated with Separation and Ongoing Violence Among Women with Civil Protective Orders," Journal of Family Violence 23 (2008): 377-385.

[15] [18] Logan, T., L. Shannon and J. Cole, "Stalking Victimization in the Context of Intimate Partner Violence," Violence and Victims 22(6) (2007): 669-683.

[17] Logan, T., and J. Cole, "The Intersection of Partner Stalking and Sexual Abuse," Violence Against Women 17(7) (2011): 904-924.

Date Created: April 20, 2012