Motivations for stalking

There are many reasons why a person may stalk another and there is no such thing as a ‘typical’ stalking perpetrator.

The ‘Stalking Risk Profile’ - developed by Mullan et al of Melbourne University - assists investigators and prosecutors in understanding stalking behaviour and risk. This profile divides stalkers into five types and considers the context in which the stalking arises and the stalker’s motivation for contacting the victim:

  • The Rejected Stalker Rejected stalking arises in the context of the breakdown of a close relationship. Victims are usually former sexual intimates; however, family members, close friends, or others with a very close relationship to the stalker can also become targets of Rejected stalking
  • The Resentful stalker - Resentful stalking arises when the stalker feels as though they have been mistreated or that they are the victim of some form of injustice or humiliation. Victims are strangers or acquaintances who are seen to have mistreated the stalker.
  • The Intimacy Seeking stalker - Intimacy seeking stalking arises out of a context of loneliness and a lack of a close confidante. Victims are usually strangers or acquaintances who become the target of the stalker’s desire for a relationship. Frequently Intimacy Seeking stalkers’ behaviour involves delusional beliefs about the victim, such as the belief that they are already in a relationship, even though none exists.
  • The Incompetent Suitor – The Incompetent suitor stalks in the context of loneliness or lust and targets strangers or acquaintances. Unlike the Intimacy Seeker, however, their initial motivation is not to establish a loving relationship, but to get a date or a short term sexual relationship. Incompetent Suitors usually stalk for brief periods, but when they do persist, their behaviour is usually maintained by the fact that they are blind or indifferent to the distress of the victim.
  • The Predatory Stalker - Predatory stalking arises in the context of deviant sexual practices and interests. Perpetrators are usually male and victims are usually female strangers in whom the stalker develops a sexual interest. The stalking behaviour is usually initiated as a way of obtaining sexual gratification (e.g., voyeurism targeting a single victim over time), but can also be used as a way of obtaining information about the victim as a precursor to a sexual assault, the most dangerous leading to serious attack.

More detail on the typologies can be found by clicking the link.

Even though the actual behaviours exhibited may vary between perpetrators, these behaviours will often share a consistent set of characteristics. Consider the acronym F.O.U.R. Are the behaviours Fixated, Obsessive, Unwanted and Repeated?

Further reading

For more information, please see the following pages: