Stalking is a term commonly used to refer to unwanted, obsessive attention by individuals (and sometimes groups of people) to others. Stalking behaviors are related to harassment and intimidation. The word “stalking” is used, with some differing meanings, in psychology and psychiatry and also in some legal jurisdictions as a term for a criminal offense. It may also be used to refer to criminal offences or civil wrongs that include conduct which some people consider to be stalking, such as those described in law as “harassment” or similar terms”
“Stalking can sometimes consist of an accumulation of a series of actions which in themselves can be legal, such as calling on the phone, sending gifts, or sending emails”
“Psychologists often group individuals who stalk into two categories: psychotic and nonpsychotic. Stalkers may have pre-existing psychotic disorders such as delusional disorder, schizoaffective disorder, or schizophrenia.
In “A Study of Stalkers” Mullen et al.. (2000) identified five types of stalkers:
- Rejected stalkers pursue their victims in order to reverse, correct, or avenge a rejection (e.g. divorce, separation, termination).
- Resentful stalkers pursue a vendetta because of a sense of grievance against the victims – motivated mainly by the desire to frighten and distress the victim.
- Intimacy seekers seek to establish an intimate, loving relationship with their victim. To many of them the victim is a long-sought-after soul mate, and they were ‘meant’ to be together.
- Incompetent suitors, despite poor social or courting skills, have a fixation, or in some cases a sense of entitlement to an intimate relationship with those who have attracted their amorous interest. Their victims are most often already in a dating relationship with someone else.
- Predatory stalkers spy on the victim in order to prepare and plan an attack – often sexual – on the victim.’