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Stalking in South Australia: The Criminal Justice Response

NCJ Number
Jayne Marshall
Date Published
August 2001
23 pages
This report examines stalking offenses at three stages of the South Australian Criminal Justice System from 1995 to 1999: police report, police apprehension, and court disposition.
Stalking can be defined as continual harassment of one person by another or persistent and unwanted attention. In 1994, stalking legislation was enacted in South Australia and stalking became an offense. This was in response to concern that existing criminal law offered little protection for victims. Since the enactment of the legislation, little has been done to analyze stalking. However, with 6 years of recorded police and court data now available on the offense, an analysis of stalking can be undertaken. This report analyzes the number of stalking offenses recorded by police, the number of offenses, and the method of clearance; it examines victim and offender profiles and the nature of the relationship, and summarizes the outcomes of courts cases involving stalking offenses. The information was obtained from a number of databases dealing with offenses recorded by police, victims, apprehension, and finalized court cases. For offenses of stalking recorded by police, the offenders were predominantly male and aged between 35 and 44, while the majority of victims were female and aged between 25 and 34 years. The offender was most often the ex-partner or an acquaintance of the victim. Overall, reports of stalking offenses make up a very small proportion of all offenses reported in South Australia. Just over half of all reported incidents of stalking were cleared by way of an arrest, report, or caution. Very few incidents resulted in an arrest or report. Lastly, fewer incidents were finalized in court, most were withdrawn or dismissed. The results can be partially explained by the impact of the legislation and South Australian police policy. Figures, reference