Developing a way to measure stalking in community samples

Over the past five years a team led by Dr Troy McEwan has been working on developing a quick but effective way of detecting stalking victimisation and perpetration anonymously in large samples. This has been a challenge for stalking researchers for many years and difficulties in ascertaining stalking in a reliable and valid way has limited the development of knew knowledge about stalking that could help us to combat it.

The Stalking Tactics Scales (STS) are the result of this research. The STS are a set of two scales, one scale measuring stalking victimisation and the other perpetration. Each scale includes 22 potential stalking behaviours and asks about the frequency of each during a period of unwanted pursuit. The STS also gathers information about the duration of the  overall episode and uses a research-informed combination of the number of behaviours experienced, the duration of the behaviour, and the impact on the target (for the victimisation scale) to determine when stalking is likely to be present.

The STS have just been evaluated in a study examining test-retest reliability and construct validity, the first time that any scale purporting to measure stalking behaviour has been subject to these kinds of tests. A publication outlining the STS in detail will be submitted in 2017.

This research was conducted with the support of the Centre for Forensic Behavioural Science, Swinburne University of Technology and Forensicare