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Most stalking is family violence related - Stalking in Australia

Stalking has been a criminal offence in Australia since the 1990s, making it an interesting jurisdiction to look at from the Irish perspective. According to a report released last week, over 25,000 stalking offences were recorded by police and nearly 7,000 were sentenced by courts in Victoria Australia int the las 10 years.

Research suggests a widespread belief in the community that most stalking occurs between strangers. Contrary to that perception, the report finds that, from 2016 to 2020, more than two-thirds of sentenced stalking offences (68%) involved family violence. So did more than half of all stalking offences recorded by police (52%): a growing number of those incidents involved stalking by former partners, usually by repeatedly contacting the victim.

Other key findings include the following:

  • Between 2011 and 2020, police recorded 25,130 stalking offences (about 2,500 per year), and courts sentenced offenders for 6,832 stalking offences (about 680 per year).

  • Most recorded offenders were male (87%), and most victims were female (80%).

  • Imprisonment was more common in family violence cases than in non-family violence cases, but gender was a stronger predictor of imprisonment: male offenders were more likely than female offenders to receive a prison sentence regardless of whether the case involved family violence.

  • There were regional differences in the prevalence of stalking charges and sentencing outcomes: Gippsland, in particular, accounts for 4% of Victoria’s population but 12% of sentenced stalking charges. This may be linked to limited support services and socioeconomic disadvantage.

  • Stalking was rarely the only offence in the case (20% of cases): the most common co-sentenced offence was a breach of a family violence safety notice or intervention order (39% of stalking cases).

  • More than half of people sentenced for stalking reoffended within four years (56%), often with a violent offence (18%) or a breach of a family violence safety notice or intervention order (25%).

To read the report in full, go to:

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