This article examines legal help-seeking experiences of victims of stalking by former intimates.
Data for this study were gathered through extensive interviews with 187 women who had been stalked by former intimate partners. Most victims initially attempted to handle the situation themselves, but the majority ultimately sought assistance from the legal system. Predictors of seeking any type of legal help, filing for a protection from abuse order or temporary restraining order, and/or seeking police assistance included age (older women were more likely to seek help), race (white women were more likely to seek assistance), the presence of threats of violence, violent acts by the stalker, and length of stalking. In evaluating handling of their cases by police, prosecutors, and judges, victims were most satisfied with judges, followed by prosecutors. The article suggests ways in which the system could better respond to the needs of stalking victims, including more coordinated efforts between the police and courts. Specific recommendations include examining the system to determine whether loopholes were allowing offenders to undermine the process of victims acquiring protection orders. Tables, notes, references