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Public familiarity and understanding of stalking/harassment legislation in Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States

Scott, A.J.; Rajakaruna, Nikki; Handscomb, Megan A. and Waterworth, Georgina A. H.. 2019. Public familiarity and understanding of stalking/harassment legislation in Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States. In: H.E. Chan and L. Sheridan, eds. Psycho-criminological approaches to stalking behavior: An international perspective. Chichester: Wiley. [Book Section] (Forthcoming)

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Abstract or Description

Perceptions are central to determining whether a particular pattern of behaviour is considered ‘reasonable’ pursuit behaviour or ‘unreasonable’ stalking behaviour, and research has highlighted the potential for legislation, and the associated media coverage, to have a positive impact on perceptions of stalking. The present study provides a unique insight into public familiarity and understanding of stalking/harassment legislation in Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States. A sample of 3,803 members of the public were asked about their familiarity with, and understanding of, the respective legislation. A minority of participants indicated that they were familiar with the legislation (21.4%) and a smaller minority provided information regarding their understanding of the legislation (14.4%). US participants were more likely to indicate that they were familiar with the legislation, but Australian and UK participants included more words when articulating their understanding of the legislation. Overall, participants’ level of understanding was extremely rudimentary, with the content of their responses reflecting generally accepted definitions of stalking rather than the specifics of the respective legislation. It is important to increase public understanding of legislation and the reality of stalking, in order to increase the likelihood of victims, as well as their family and friends, identifying experiences as stalking.

Item Type:

Book Section

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Psychology > Forensic Psychology Unit

Dates:

DateEvent
13 June 2019Accepted

Item ID:

26592

Date Deposited:

16 Jul 2019 08:28

Last Modified:

11 Sep 2019 09:18

URI:

http://research.gold.ac.uk/id/eprint/26592

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