Understanding female-perpetrated stalking

Nathan Brooks, Wayne A. Petherick, Arathi Kannan, Peta Berenice Stapleton, Serena Davidson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


Stalking refers to intrusive acts experienced on two or more occasions (according to most definitions and legislation) which create apprehension and/or fear. Statistically, most victims of stalking are female, and most stalkers are male. Female-perpetrated stalking has been explored less, even though it has a significant effect on victims. Rigid societal beliefs that female-perpetrated crime is not worthy of being taken seriously or is somehow less intrusive has contributed to lower rates of research, reporting, and understanding of female-perpetrated stalking. Victims often experience a lack of support, and therefore many female-perpetrated cases go unreported. This paper reviews the literature on female-perpetrated stalking and provides commentary on violence, mental health, and victimization. Analysis of the empirical literature suggested that female stalkers pose a similar level of violence risk as their male counterparts, although this risk is often perceived as nonthreatening. Mental illness was identified in both male and female stalkers, with mental illness commonly linked to violence among stalkers. Females were found to target acquaintances and engage in different stalking behaviors. Implications of these findings are further discussed. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2021 APA, all rights reserved)
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)65-76
JournalJournal of Threat Assessment and Management
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2021


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