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.