Stalking: A Multidimensional Framework for Assessment and Safety Planning

Trauma Violence Abuse. 2017 Apr;18(2):200-222. doi: 10.1177/1524838015603210. Epub 2016 Jun 23.


Despite the high prevalence of stalking and the risk of harm it poses to victims, arrest rates, prosecutions, and convictions for stalking continue to be low in the United States. The overall goal of this article is to introduce a multidimensional framework of stalking that adds to the current literature by (1) providing a conceptual framework consistent with legal elements of many stalking statutes to facilitate assessment, communication, documentation, and safety planning for stalking several victims; (2) introducing a more systematic way of assessing course of conduct and the context of fear in stalking situations in order to increase the understanding of cumulative fear for stalking victims; (3) emphasizing the aspects of stalking harm that go beyond violence and that show how harm from stalking accumulates over time including life sabotage; and (4) discussing 12 risk factors derived from the overall multidimensional framework that can be used to describe the big picture of stalking and to facilitate safety planning for victims. Implications for future research are discussed.

Keywords: dating violence; domestic violence; mental health and violence; partner abuse; stalking.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Crime Victims / psychology*
  • Criminals / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Criminals / statistics & numerical data
  • Fear / psychology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Quality of Life
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Factors
  • Safety
  • Stalking / psychology*
  • Suicide / psychology
  • Violence / psychology