False reports of stalking: Motivations and investigative considerations

Wayne A. Petherick, Alicia Jenkins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


Stalking is a crime involving repeated and often prolonged harassment of one individual,
usually by one other. Despite the prevalence of this interpersonal crime, not all stalking
allegations are legitimate, with some being false claims based on a variety of different
factors such as false belief, attention or sympathy, and revenge. This study of a sample of
false claimants sought to determine whether there are features, such as duration, relationship
status and employment among which others could be used to determine the veracity of a
stalking complaint. This sample was compared to other like samples and to the common
characteristics of legitimate reports in order to determine the degree to which case features
could indicate falsity. Findings show that age can be discriminatory depending on the
reference sample used, and that false reporters tend to be under or unemployed and report
more electronic surveillance among others. Recommendations for future examinations are
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)93-101
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Threat Assessment and Management
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2014


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