Two days ago, I received an email request for help generated from the contact information on my website http://www.detectivemikeproctor.com. The person that contacted me was a man who lived with his wife somewhere in the United Kingdom. His wife, who was pregnant worked at a business open to the public…we don’t need to disclose the type of business. Over a period of time his wife began to see an adult male watching her for prolonged periods of time while she worked. On one occasion, the male approached her while she was in a cafe just outside her place of work on her lunch break. He then asked her out. The woman advised the man that she was not interested and was in fact married. The man’s response was that where he came from it made no difference whether the woman was married or not if asked she should still go out with him. The man’s wife then made it perfectly clear that she was not interested. After this incident, the man continued to follow and watch her. The couple contacted their local police and complained. They also notified her place of work’s security personnel. Local law enforcement advised them that unless the person who was stalking his wife made some type of overt act, they couldn’t do anything. Due to the fact that the man’s wife was experiencing a great deal of emotional distress due to the stalker’s continual surveillance at both her work and outside of same, the husband purchased a copy of my book, Antidote For A Stalker. He had just started to read the book and had a lot of questions; mostly what I thought he could do to assist them. Because he had a copy of the book, I was able to direct him to sections that would greatly assist him in his quest to get some relief from his wife’s stalker. I was not only able to answer his questions, but give him resources available in the book to help him complete his task. I wrote the book to assist those in need. It is extremely helpful when I can use it as a resource concerning a specific stalking. Thus in this case walking the victim and her husband through the pages of the book.
Now that we have discussed some information concerning campus stalking, we need to talk about why it is becoming more prevalent:
- Peer pressure: We found that many victims of stalking complained that one of the reasons they did not report the stalking to either school officials or the police was because some of their fellow students would advise them that it was only a crush or ask them “if they really wanted to cause the stalker trouble and get him or her expelled?”
- The I can handle this syndrome: Some didn’t report because they felt as did the well-meaning co-ed at Sam Houston University that they could re-direct or actually assist the stalker. Because they didn’t really understand the stalking phenomenon and were eventually traumatized by the stalker.
- Easy access to both information concerning the target of the Stalker: Many campus stalkers advise us that they obtained information on their targets via the school student data base, along with other social media.
- Easy access to the stalker’s target by being on the same campus:Due to the fact that the stalker is either in classroom’s with their target or has other means of easy access to their targets due to going to school on the same physical grounds as the victim; allows them a great deal of access to said targets.
I recently taught a one and half hour seminar on a large state campus. Not only were many of the attendees amazed at the number of those that are stalked not only in the United States or elsewhere, but that campus stalking was such a big problem. The other thing I saw when contacting individual female students (when teaching at other campuses) who were being stalked and had reported same to their campus law enforcement was that they told that what they were describing was not really stalking; when in fact it was. Again, training, training, training is imperative. Campus law enforcement must be trained, as well as the student body and school administrators.
Campus stalking is on the march throughout our various campuses not only in the United States but throughout the world. In 2000 The National College Women Sexual Victimization Study, (NCWSV) found:
- 80.3 % of victims knew or had seen their stalkers before
- 3 in 10 women reported being injured emotionally or psychologically during the stalking
- 15.3 of the incidents, the stalker threatened or attempted to harm the victim
- 10.3% of victims said the stalker either forced or attempted sexual contact
- about 83.1% of the stalking cases were not reported to campus police or local law enforcement
- about 93.4% told someone else about being stalked
In 2010 did a similar campus study entitled The UK Hidden Marks Report Survey of 2010. Go on the net to review their findings or see them in my book which discusses Campus stalking at length. Due to this study and others, Scotland’s National Union of Students (NUS) has started implementing anti-stalking policies on their college campuses and universities.
Since the 2000 U.S. study things are starting to get better, but very, very slowly. In 2009, I was one of the consultants in a Department of Justice Grant Study requested by the University of Southern California (USC) concerning campus stalking and how to best handle the issues generated by stalking on our college campus. (Stalking Policy Advisory Committee/USC, Los Angeles College Consortium Project). The study came up with specific ways for both campus law enforcement and the university’s administrative staff to better sort out the stalking issue. (More information on this topic in the book.)
In November of 2012, at the end of a six state lecture tour, I had the opportunity to conduct two stalking seminars at Sam Houston State University in Texas. Unfortunately, a few years prior to my lecture, they had lost a very well-liked nursing student and cheer leader to a campus stalking scenario. This particular case was also profiled on an E-Hollywood special I was one of the consultants on. Many of the attendees of the lecture approached me after still expressing their grief and disbelief concerning the tragic murder of their friend and associate. In one class that contained about 200 students; when I asked how many people had been the victims of stalking in the past about 40-50 of the students in the classroom raised their hands. Sam Houston University Article on Proctor teaching stalking
We are experiencing more and more campus stalking and bulling in our secondary schools as well. More on that when we get into a future post on juvenile stalking.
If you reside in Germany and are experiencing stalking, you need to review the German’s anti-stalking law that has just been on the books since 2007. Section 238 of their penal code reads as follows: “Whosoever unlawfully stalks a person by:
- seeking his proximity,
- trying to establish contact with him by means of telecommunication or other means of communication or through third persons,
- abusing his personal data for the purpose of ordering goods or services for him or causing third persons to make contact with him,
- threatening him or a person close to him with loss of life or limb, damage to health or deprivation of freedom, or
- committing similar acts, and thereby seriously infringes his lifestyle shall be liable to imprisonment of not more than three years or a fine.”
Some studies reflect that at least 12 percent of Germans have been the victim of stalking. We hope that victim organizations are getting the requisite training and assistance they need to continue to assist those that need it. I and my family have had the opportunity to travel in Germany on a few occasions and found the country to be very beautiful and those we have met to be warm and friendly. However, as we continue to stress, stalking can rear its ugly head in any community.
I just viewed 02-16-14 (This Sunday’s) coverage on Cate Blanchett. Of course, the story was about her life as a successful actress and Oscar contender. However, what I picked up on was the fact that 60 Minutes was not allowed to interview or show extensive or close up photos of her children. They were only able to put on camera, Cate, her director husband, and their dog. 60 Minutes was also not allowed to show any shots of her families’ home. We continually stress when dealing with media to do exactly what Cate and her husband did. Minimize exposure of their family and the place(s) they live. I found how she handled this scenario quite refreshing.
The United Kingdom has somewhat covered stalking since 1997 via the Protection from Harassment Act. However, due to the increasing number of stalking cases (Approx. 1.9 million and growing) within that country; new stalking legislation was needed. A March 2011 Home Office publication entitled, “Call to End Violence Against Women and Girls: Equality Impact Assessment, found that since the age of sixteen, 19 percent of women had experienced stalking. This study also indicated that since age sixteen, 9 percent of males had experienced some sort of stalking as well. First came Scotland’s new stalking law enacted in 2010. (We had the pleasure of assisting victim advocates..like Ann Moulds with the development of the Scottish stalking law. Then in 2012 came the amendment to section III Offences in relation to stalking (1) After section 2 of the Protection from Harassment Act of 1997. This new section greatly enhances the what is covered under stalking including all the penalties for same. (This is covered in Appendix E in Antidote For A Stalker.)
For those following my tweets, stalking is stalking. It makes no difference where it takes place. That is why what we wrote in the book covers stalking behavior in the United States, United Kingdom, or anywhere in the world. We continue to write books and blogs to help all victims of stalking, not just the ones in our specific country.
Therefore, if you are being stalked and don’t have a good stalking law, become an advocate, and push for better legislation. Make your voice heard.
Over the years, we have seen the following when it comes to investigating stalking where children are present. Children can become wrapped up in the stalker’s web. Oftentimes we see them being used by the stalker as conduits for information. In other words in a domestic violence or intimate partner stalking the stalker will pump the children for information about their target. He or she will routinely quiz them about what is going on with the person they are stalking. Who are they seeing, where are they going, what are they buying, on and on. We have had cases in which the children become so harassed as to this information they become significantly traumatized. We have had episodes when they see the stalker they attempt to flee to friends or relatives just so they are not exposed to this type of pressure.
Children are also utilized as pawns in domestic situations. The stalker may bring repetitive legal actions concerning custody or visitation. Many times the stalker really doesn’t care about seeing or being with the children he or she just wants to harass the stalker in a stressful court proceeding that not only causes undue stress but becomes a financial burden on the victim.
Unfortunately, during too many investigations we have seen a child sexually assaulted by the stalker. Either to get back at the victim or because he (in most cases) is in fact a molester. We have had stalkers that do this tell us that when they molested the child they fantasied about their primary victim. We have also had children beat by the stalker when coming to the aid of their mother who is the victim.
In the worse case scenario we have had children of the victim killed either in a murder/suicide situation or to once again expose the victim-their target to intense trauma due to the loss of the child.
These are just some of the reasons we pay special attention to the victims children when we begin and throughout our investigations. If a family court judge is involved in the case we sit down with him or her and explain why we feel a no contact order should also apply to the children even if the issue of custody is being reviewed.
It has been our experience that once a victim of stalking gets to us they have been traumatized over a protracted period of time. I get emails from victims around the world that complain that law the law enforcement personnel that they have contacted tells them there is nothing they can do, or the classic one is “until he (the Stalker) commits a crime, there is nothing they can do. Keep in mind there are countries that do not have stalking laws; however, this shouldn’t be happening in those that do. One of the primary reasons we teach law enforcement is to get them up to speed on how to actually investigate a stalking case. Having been in full-time law enforcement for 33+ years I can honestly say that most cops want to help; some just don’t have the training necessary to do what they need to. Also keep in mind that police departments lead from the top. If domestic violence and/or stalking is considered a priority then it will be. The department I came from treats these crimes as something that should be worked. The only problem is that since I left not a great deal of training has transpired considering these issues, primarily stalking. Therefore, I am called in to teach the new detective(s) on how best to work stalkers. I have fun doing it so as long as I can I will. Obviously, there are people who claim to be stalked, but actually are not. That is something the law enforcement entity that is being contacted has to sort through. (Enough of this, now down to the topic at hand.)
In our stalking protocol when a victim comes to us we do the following:
- We conduct a threat assessment interview. This interview is video tape recorded for a couple of reasons. One so that we have something to review at a later time so that we can better write our crime report. Second, so that the district attorney can review how the victim responds to questions. What type of emotions, he or she exhibits, etc. During this interview we have the victim lay out in chronological fashion all the issues she has been experiencing with the potential stalker. Once she or he has gone through their story, we go back over each of the incidents gathering more information. We also ask specific questions designed to better fact find. Some of these questions become extremely emotional for the victim. This interview also allows us to better determine the stalker’s Lethality Quotient. In other words is it high or low. If it is low we can take our time in developing the case. If it is high and the victim or her family members are at risk for injury or death, we step up our investigation so that we can eliminate the threat. [For example, we would immediately get a restraining order and serve it directly on the stalker so that he or she knew we were in the picture.] If we had a crime other than stalking that we could arrest for we would. If the victim and or her children needed a safe environment we would utilize our Domestic Violence group to have the victim placed in a shelter. We would also have our assigned social worker get involved in the process.
- Once we determined that a stalking has in fact transpired, we ask the victim to bring in any and all things that the stalker has left or sent her. These would include any taped recorded phone messages, emails, etc. We would also notify the victim that he or she must stop any consensual contact with the stalker. The D.A. needs to have a point where this takes place in order to prosecute for stalking.
- We then develop a victim profile. In the profile we have a form that contains all their information concerning their driver’s license, social security, log in all marks, scars or tattoos. We then photograph and fingerprint them. The photos we take, are not just head-shots, but full up and down body shots. We do the same with their children. The reason is that if something (God forbid) would happen to them such as an abduction, we have very good and current photos of them. Then we photograph any and all vehicles that they drive or routinely have access to. Why? Because if we have to do a television broadcast if a kidnap takes place; we want to put out pictures of the exact car that they were in or had access to at the time of the incident. Not a car that looks similar to this or that one. Most cars and somewhat unique as to types of wheels, paint color, dents, or stickers on same.
- If our threat assessment evaluation develops lethality issues that cause us to feel the stalker may in fact attempt to forcibly enter the victim’s residence; we would send our CSI (Crime Scene Investigators) people to her home. They would photograph/video tape the interior and map the interior. Why? Because if we had to send our SWAT or Metro Team detectives in to perform a rescue, we would want to know what the interior looked like.
- If our investigation turns up that there has been sexual predation done on children by the stalker, we would set up a specialized interview with our child protective service group which include a forensic nurse capable of doing comprehensive physical exams, along with a district attorney who specializes in these cases.
- We would then assign a case worker to assist the victim in getting any kind of court order they would need as well as setting up his or her court appearances, providing transportation and showing up to any court ordered hearing to assist them.
- We would then follow the victim’s case throughout the court system. [As in all of these blog entries more information available on Antidote For A Stalker, Amazon.]
There are two 5 inch heavy-duty binders in this photo. The one on the left is the newest cold case homicide book my partner and I are working on. This includes information on the possible serial killer we are working on. We will have to go to another folder when we continue further into the bowels of the case. The binder on the right contains an investigative file with over 600 pages of information on just one of the stalkers we worked.
Stalking cases are not difficult to investigate; however, if done right, they take a great deal of work. Each one of our cases is set up like a book. It has a table of contents, known as a stalking chronology (refer to our book for examples) which lays out the case events in chronological order. This stalking chronology then allows us to easily write the entire crime report. Each one of the chronological references are tabbed. This would include search warrant information, photos, and machine copies of letters, cards, or other things left by the stalker. If there are phone recordings or emails they are also included. This entire book is then submitted to the district attorney for filing. This also helps the detective in charge when he or she goes to a judge to get a search and/or arrest warrant for the stalker. Oh, and guess what, when we follow our stalking protocol (also laid out in the new book), we get major convictions, most of the time without ever going to trial.
We just want you to be aware of some of what is going on out there concerning strange things on the Net. Apparently my kids were aware of all this unusual information, but then why wouldn’t they be. I am known as the computer dinosaur in our abode. Whenever there is a problem, I run for one of my still living with me adult children for help. They come into my office shaking their heads, take care of my problem with a few keystrokes. When I ask what they did to fix the issue I was having, they walk away muttering they don’t have time to explain to the elderly how to work a simple computer. Hummmmm.
Now back on topic. For those of you that don’t know this, there is a place on the Internet known as the Secret Web, or The Dark Web. Apparently, there are programs that you can purchase on the net that allow you access to this place that was reportedly developed by the U.S. Military to protect both them and law enforcement communications from being viewed. Unfortunately, it also has become the haven of drug dealers, pornographers, pedophiles, etc. This is how it kind of works. Once you obtain this particular software, when you activate your computer searches or communications all your data including your searches get wrapped in layers upon layers of encryption. Some articles we have read on the type of things you can obtain on these sites, are weapons, drugs, porn, and one even indicated you might be able to go on a murder for hire site. Amazing. Of course, your local terrorist may be utilizing these sites. Not to mention a potential stalker. If you would like to read more on this topic; the November 11, 2013 issue of Time Magazine ran a story entitled The Secret Web, Where Drugs, Porn AND Murder Hide Online. Of course, we are sure you can also surf the normal web to find out more information on this topic.