China Drafts First Domestic Violence Law

Finally, China may be taking a step in the right direction. Around November 25, 2014, China posted it’s first Anti-Domestic Violence Law of the People’s Republic of China. Apparently the proposed law has Six Chapters associated with it. Chapter One: General Provisions, Chapter II: Prevention of domestic violence, Chapter III: Disposition of domestic violence, Chapter IV: Personal Safety Protection Rulings, Chapter V: Legal Responsibility, and Chapter VI: Supplementary Provisions. As best as I can tell, at least at this juncture, stalking does not seem to enter into the confines of this law. Some of the outside evaporators of this proposal say it does not go far enough; however, in our opinion, any progress is progress.

According to Dec. 6-12, 2014 article in the Economist Magazine entitled, Domestic Violence, Home Truths,” “According to a report by the All-China Women’s Federation, “nearly 40% of women who are married or have a boyfriend have experienced physical or sexual violence. This study also found that “about 53% of boys and 34% of girls are physically abused by their parents.” They also found that only about “7% of those suffering abuse inform the police.” Physical abuse is not apparently a grounds for divorce in China.

We hope that this law is passed, and then more addendums are added to assist those that are victims.

Advertisements

Singapore has a new stalking law

In recent weeks, I have been in contact with members of the Singaporean judiciary concerning a cyber stalking case that I was asked by the victim, a United States female celebrity to a enter into in the conversation in the role of a victim advocate. Alexis Bowater of Surviving Stalking (a strong UK victim advocate and also a founding member of The National Stalking Training Academy in the UK (as am I); had been initially involved with this particular victim when she was touring in the United Kingdom, and according to this celebrity had helped her a great deal. During the back and forth, I was notified by the Deputy Public Prosecutor handling this case and advised, that due to the fact that Singapore had just passed a new law on stalking under that countries’ Protection From Harassment Act, entitled “unlawful stalking,” that our victim should have her attorney’s review that law for obtaining the action they were striving to get. I would strongly suggest that anyone in the country of Singapore that is being stalked go to the Protection From Harassment Act of 2014, and get up to speed on what the law entails. I am extremely glad to see another country get on board with the proper anti-stalking legislation.

CYBERPOL could be a first step in going after international cyber-stalkers.

A world Security Report just advised that CYBERPOL (The International Cyber Security Organization also known as (ICSO) is in the pilot or developmental stages of accessing the use and needs of an International Cyber-Crime Database. (ICCD). (Just for those of my readers that don’t know what CYBERPOL does, it is the International organization that specializes in identifying and research of internet web-crimes, as well as cyber threats and global trends in the cyber world. It was established in 2013.

Because CYBERPOL is now working in this direction, we would hope that member countries would push for prosecuting more cyber crimes such as cyber-stalking in the not too distant future. Once again, as it stands now, if you are being cyber-stalked from an individual in say Ireland and you live in the United States, nothing of a criminal nature can be done. We realize that it takes time for law enforcement to catch up with technology, but the quicker the better, and we see this particular effort as a great step in the right direction. We urge the international community to get with organizations like these and Interpol and hook-up as fast as they can.

US celebrity gets first cyber-stalking conviction in another country, this should be commonplace.

American singer and actress, who is well- known for her performances both in the United States and abroad, (as is our policy, we do not give out persons who we have interacted with names or other personal information) was the prolonged (six year) victim of a cyber-stalker, who stalked her from his home country of Singapore.  Even though the celebrity was not a citizen of that country, nor did she have any family ties there; through perseverance and hard work she was able to get Singaporean officials to take an interest in her case. Once Singapore law enforcement took a strong look at all the factors concerning duress the stalker had placed on the celebrity, they arrested him. Upon conviction, the court sentenced her stalker to three years in prison.

To the best of our knowledge, this is the first international cyber-stalking conviction and sentencing. The celebrity is now attempting to get the Singapore court to make an exception and grant her a restraining order against her stalker. If this takes place, it will be another first.

When we consult on cases concerning both stalking and cyber-stalking against a citizen conducted by a perpetrator outside the US, we have not been able to recommend a remedy. We hope that through this particular celebrities’ dogged efforts the rest of the world will take notice and follow in her footsteps.

Japan is taking a second look at Stalking

In 2000, Japan instituted a new stalking law pertaining to intimate partner type relationships. When we reviewed the law and how it was prosecuted, it was our opinion it needed a great deal more teeth. One of the problems that we have found with any country or state that initiates new stalking legislation is that a great deal of training needs to take place both at the state and federal levels. In fact, in regard to stalking, training should be implemented in the schools and even be made available to the private sector business community as well. That is one of the reasons that we have included information in our latest book, Antidote For A Stalker (Amazon) that addresses information that would pertain to all of those areas. 

We are told that due to the increase in concern expressed by victim groups in Japan, the government may now be looking at ways to perhaps re-think its approach to stalking. Of course we are always a fan of these types of enlightenment’s transpiring not only in Japan, but throughout the world. 

Prisons, a problem waiting to be solved

Over the years, I have been following a number of articles both generated in print as well as on the net concerning prison overcrowding and the problems that it produces. One federal study in the United States estimates that we have well over one million people incarcerated in our state prisons at any one time. (According to a study generated in 2008, The International Centre for Prison Studies found that the United States leads the world with those in prison, 756 per 100,000 people. Russia was next with 629, followed by South Africa with 329.) Without getting into a vast statistical spread sheet approach in this posting some of the facts as to numbers are interesting. For example in 2011, the United States Supreme Court ruled that the California’s  prisons  were at 137-145% capacity and must lower its prison populations dramatically. Governor Brown, who had fought the ruling, then began shipping back a certain classification of inmate to their county of origin to be housed in understaffed and already over-crowed county facilities. Obviously this has not worked so in 2013 California passed Assembly Bill 109 which lays out a process for the release of “low-risk” offenders from the prison system as another way to placate the Feds. The problem with is that oftentimes so called low risk offenders have been shown to become high-risk offenders once release and go directly back into a life of crime; once again feasting off a widening group of unprotected citizens. (The cycle of victimization continues.)

I have just been reviewing my latest copy of the Economist Magazine which I do enjoy plus have on occasion even been quoted in concerning an article on stalking. However, that does not mean that I don’t find fault with some of their and other periodicals I have read that reported on this same issue. Of late concerning the Economist, it has been their writings on the United States’ prison system (both state and federal) and now even their comments about their own system (August 2nd-8th 2014 edition) in the United Kingdom entitled Rough Justice. As for  United States prisons they complain that they are over-crowed and violent as well as they tend to house more Hispanics and Afro-Americans than other ethnic groups. They have also discussed that prison sentences for drug dealers and abusers; especially in the federal system are too harsh. As for their prisons they express that they are becoming more violent, overcrowded and many times not as clean as they could be. They also claim that many of the non-violent offenders in their prisons are attempting to get officials to place them into protective custody so they are not subject to assault by the more violent prison population. The article goes on to state that inmates are making more make-shift weapons to defend themselves. This type of behavior has been pretty commonplace in most of the higher risk as well as some of the less at risk prison populations in the United States for as long as I can remember. For many years, my partner and I put numerous criminals in California prisons hailing from a variety of ethnic backgrounds; including three that are still hanging around death row. (Oh, sorry, that is probably not the case lately because in July of 2014 some Orange County Federal court judge in his infinite wisdom ruled that  California’s death penalty was unconstitutional.  The judge called California’s system “dysfunctional” and “arbitrary.” REALLY! Has this “judge” bothered to talk to the families of the victims that these clowns, may have raped, tortured, and murdered to ascertain how they feel about his or any other judge that decides to rule against the death penalty? I for one would agree that California needs to change how it handles the death penalty process and follow the Texas model, which would expedite the process. California has not executed an inmate since 2006.

I digress. I could get into a much longer tirade about what do they think happens in prison when violent offenders are placed with other offenders violent or not in an enclosed space. Or that is how the criminal justice system works, you commit a crime and you go to jail or prison, not back to kindergarten. I truly wonder how many of these journalists have either been the victim of a crime requiring a prison sentence or at the very least had family members that were victims of these individuals. However, the real way that both the prison systems in both the United States, The United Kingdom and elsewhere can be reduced is to eliminate the person that may be slated for one of these institutions, which realistically rehabilitate the few not the many; is to stop that person male or female from ever committing a crime in the first place.

You are always going to have crime, but we can radically reduce much of it by starting to direct children from pre-school and beyond to do the right thing. We all know this is so easy to say and yet in our societies so hard to do. Poverty, lack of parental direction, and mental health all have to be impacted during the formative stages of the youth being presented now in our communities. If not the cycle of crime and oftentimes the violence it generates will never be broken.

Those in Law Enforcement can be subject to being stalked

When I lecture to an audience that is primarily made up of law enforcement and those associated with the criminal justice system, parole, probation, court victim advocates, etc., I usually always get at least one or two cops or parole or probation officers that raise their hands when I ask who in the audience has been stalked.

When you pick up a copy of my book, Antidote For A Stalker, you will see that really no one is safe from becoming a victim of stalking. Most probation officers are stalked by those they are tasked with supervising that are currently stalkers, or have been stalkers in the past and assigned to the probation or parole officer’s caseload.

Cops on the other hand can pick up a stalker like this, but oftentimes they become victims of stalking outside of the workplace environment. I have and continue to work with several law enforcement individuals that are stalked. I recently had a chief of police contact me because she was being stalked by someone she had met in her personal life. There are times when detectives who are working stalkers start being stalked by the individual they are going after not because the stalker obsesses about them but because they are trying to gather as much information about that particular detective due to the fact that the detective is exerting power and control over their live and they do not like that. I have had two stalkers attempt to do that with me. Most of the time they tend to keep their distance because they know we can cause them grief and probably because we carry guns. Those in law enforcement that have stalkers that both harass them as well as their families can and do exhibit many of the same stressors  of any stalking victim. By the way, they don’t always get the immediate assistance with their cases that one might think. Once stalked, they gain a greater sympathy for anyone else that is or has been in the same position that they are currently in.

Due to the fact that stalkers are always trying to gather as much information about who is in their life, be they a victim or someone say in law enforcement that is interfering with what they are trying to do; we tell them not to give out information about themselves. We also advise them to remove any pictures of family, animals awards, etc. that could give anyone be they a stalker or not that they bring into their offices for any type of contact.

Sandra Bullock needs a break from stalking

Sandra Bullock seems to be a magnet for both male and female stalkers. We believe that she is one of those celebrities that even though, gorgeous, comes across as down home, compassionate,  and more accessible than most. Although, these are great qualities, it can and apparently does cause those few delusional stalkers out there to seemingly continually attach.  Back in 2007 when Ms. Bullock was still married to Jessie James and residing in Orange County Cal, I was in contact with the Orange County Sheriff’s Department concerning the arrest of a female stalker who used to lie down in Ms. Bullock’s driveway in an attempt to force Ms. Bullock to get out of her vehicle and make contact with her. This same stalker tried to run down James and was taken into custody by Orange County Sheriff’s Deputies. The stalker’s case was adjudicated at the West Orange County Superior Court in the City of Westminster. The stalker plead guilty and was placed on probation. When we contacted the the Sheriff’s Department, we stressed that they needed to do a background on the stalker as well as conduct a search warrant of her residence. We advised them to look for the following: (1) any logs, ledgers or writings that discussed anything having to do with Ms. Bullock. This would include any searches of computers or other digital materials. We advised them to look for a “shrine” (usually a series of photos or collection of magazine articles posted somewhere in the residence where the stalker could view them on a regular basis). We advised the Sheriff’s that this information would give them a better idea of why this particular stalker was going after Ms. Bullock, as well as give them a better idea of the stalker’s violence quotient concerning Ms. Bullock and her then husband. Questions needed to be answered such as; did the stalker feel they had some kind of relationship together; remember many celebrity stalkers including Ms. Bullock’s latest male stalker believe they have an intimate relationship or are even married to their celebrity target. Did the female stalker believe she was meant to be Sandra Bullock’s protector from whatever, including the fact that she may have felt that Ms. Bullock’s husband at that time was not who she should be with. The more information an investigator can gather on a stalker whether they be stalking a celebrity or someone else; the better are the chances of case managing the stalking scenario. In other words, what are the chances this stalker will re-offend with the same victim. Are there other victims that this particular stalker has, is or will be going after, etc.   We also expressed the fact that Ms. Bullock and her husband or any other family members should be given information concerning the stalking phenomenon. We attempt to do this with any and all of our victims. The more knowledge any stalking victim can obtain the better for them to get through the trauma of the event, or in the case of Ms. Bullock, the events.

Stalkers will harass family to get to their target.

Part of our stalking protocol is to either have the victim of stalking advise their family of the issues they are having with a stalker, or have them come to us for a family meeting so we can explain some basics concerning the stalking issue in order to get them up to speed concerning the stalking phenomenon and what they can expect concerning a stalker’s behavior towards them.

Why do we do this? Because all too often a stalker will contact, harass and stalk their primary stalking target’s family in order to gather information concerning their target; especially when they no longer are somehow prevented from having access to said target. We have also seen that stalkers will harass; follow, damage property, or even injure or at worse case scenario kill family members in order to cause fear or emotional stress to his or her primary stalking target.

We again recently saw this in the Spring Texas scenario where Ronald Lee Haskel dresses up as a delivery driver, enters the home of his estranged wife’s extended family, holds his wife’s sister’s children hostage until the sister and her husband arrive home. When they will not give up the whereabouts of Ronald’s estranged wife…his target…he executes the two adults and all but one of the young children. Once again, this clown had a series of restraining orders filed against him…by the way as we have indicated, restraining orders are only as good as the law enforcement community in which the order was filed. He had a record of domestic abuse, and violent assault. On one occasion he reportedly duct taped his mother to a chair and threatened to kill her, other family members as well as any law enforcement official that he encountered. She then filed another restraining order on him. Again, our response is perhaps if the law enforcement entity where the mother resided had a threat management detective or team, good old Ronald may well have showed up on the radar and been taken down before he traveled from California to Texas and slaughtered the members of that family. There was one newspaper report that advised that Ronald also had a mental disorder and had stopped taking his Meds. Once again, another mentally disordered perpetrator. 

Neighborhood stalking is difficult to manage

What the heck do you mean exactly by Neighborhood Stalking? Well, this is when the stalker lives in your neighborhood; oftentimes right next door. We are continually contacted by the victims of these types of stalkers who are at their wits end. Examples: We have one female victim who contacted us about her neighbor whose front door in a condo complex is Approx. 4 feet from hers. She advised that her fifty something female has mental issues. She continually threatens her, strikes her as well as has pushed her down the stairs breaking one of her arms. The victim said she has contacted local law enforcement numerous times, and they have failed to eliminate the problem. Example No. 2. We were contacted while giving a lecture at a University about a protracted stalking incident where the neighbor appeared to be fixated on his female neighbor. He would cut down their mutual hedges so he could view both her and her house 24/7. He was damage the paint on her car, harass her aged father to the point it was believed it exaserbated his demise, followed her on a regular basis, found out how much money she had in her checking accounts, as well as confronted any male that she appeared to be having a relationship with; whether it was for business or pleasure. The victim installed video cameras that recorded a good deal of this behavior including an incident where he assaulted her and fractured her arm. (By the way, for some reason local law enforcement did not arrest the neighbor for this assault.) After repeated crime reports being filed as well as a restraining order being issued, a magistrate ordered the stalker to move out of his home, which he later rented to relatives, thus allowing him (according to him) to come back to the house on a regular basis to supposedly check on the maintenance of the property. So the problems continued.

It was our evaluation that in both of these incidents, one that took place on the West Coast, and one that took place on the East Coast, that law enforcement was remiss in doing their job. The way you stop a neighborhood stalking is once it is clear who is in fact the culprit in the stalking; you arrest the stalker for every little violation of law that you can prove up and charge. You make sure the stalker either goes to prison or at the very least is placed on formal probation, thus if they violate their probation, they then go to state prison. If you believe you have a mentally disordered offender just like the one we described in the first example, you bring along mental health professionals that upon evaluation may be able to place that individual in a secure facility. If those mental health workers cannot, you go back to the first plan, and arrest the stalker as many times as necessary to eliminate the problem. In most jurisdictions, a magistrate cannot just indiscriminately have a homeowner removed from their residence, but they can keep them incarcerated for the crimes they commit, which in essence can amount to much the same thing. They just have a jailhouse address instead of a residential one.In SHORT, law enforcement cannot turn a blind eye to these types of stalking.