Current Research

A validation of the Stalking Risk Profile

Between 2010 and 2014, we undertook research to investigate the validity and reliability of the Stalking Risk Profile. Stalkers attending the Forensicare Community Forensic Mental Health Service’s Problem Behaviour Program were assessed using the Stalking Risk Profile and where consent was provided they were followed up in mid-2014 using police databases to ascertain subsequent offending. This data was combined with data from SRPs scored retrospectively from file review and the findings published in the journal Assessment in mid-2016:

McEwan, T.E., Shea, D.E., Daffern, M., MacKenzie, R., Ogloff, J.R.P. & Mullen, P.E. (2016). The reliability and predictive validity of the Stalking Risk Profile. Assessement. doi: 10.1177/1073191116653470

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

Development and evaluation of the Screening Assessment for Stalking and Harassment (SASH)

The Screening Assessment for Stalking and Harassment is a short tool designed for use by frontline workers such as police or health workers, to help them determine whether a particular stalking case requires more intensive response.

Research is underway in Sweden and Australia to validate the SASH against more comprehensive risk assessment tools such as the SRP, and to evaluate its inter-rater reliability. Research is also underway in the Netherlands and Italy evaluating translations of the SASH in use by frontline services.

Investigating stalking-related attitudes and beliefs

Dr Bronwyn McKeon, a clinical forensic psychologist at Forensicare, has had an interest in better understanding the kinds of attitudes and beliefs that might be related to stalking behaviour for some years. With Profs Ogloff and Mullen, she developed the Stalking Related Attitudes Questionnaire (SRAQ) in the early 2000s as a measure of ‘stalking-myths’ in community members.  The original version of the SRAQ has since been used in research in the UK and Italy. After a pilot with Australian stalkers in 2010, the SRAQ was revised and in 2012 the new 63 item version was tested with a new community sample. In 2015 this research was expanded by undertaking an exploratory and confirmatory factor analysis of the full SRAQ to refine and determine the structure of the instrument, in addition to establishing construct and convergent reliability. Test-retest reliability is being assessed in a 2016 project and a new 22 item version, called the Stalking Attitudes Questionnaire (SAQ), will be published in 2017. This program of research is the first step in developing an understanding of the types of offence-related beliefs and attitudes that might exist in stalkers and will hopefully lead to more research into stalking-related cognition.

McKeon, B., McEwan, T.E. & Luebbers, S. (2015). “It’s not really stalking if you know the person”: Measuring community attitudes that normalise, justify and minimise stalking. Psychiatry, Psychology and Law, 22(2).

This research is conducted with the support of the Centre for Forensic Behavioural Science and Forensicare.

Investigating the relationship between stalking and intimate partner abuse

The association between post-relationship stalking and intimate partner abuse that occurs during a relationship is poorly understood and under-researched. Since 2012 researchers at the Centre for Forensic Behavioural Science have been involved in a project led by doctoral candidate Svenja Senkans to investigate this relationship further. This research has examined the co-occurrence of intimate partner abuse during a relationship and stalking after its end, and investigated psychological characteristics associated with perpetrating post-relationship stalking, such as the role of various attitudinal and cognitive factors.

A review and empirical evaluation of the relationship between intimate partner abuse and post-relationship stalking will be published in the journal Partner Abuse:

McEwan, T.E., Shea, D.E., Nazarewicz, J. & Senkans, S. (2017). Re-assessing the link between stalking and intimate partner abuse. Partner Abuse, 8(2)

Psychological interventions for stalking behaviour

This research project is part of a wider project funded by the Australian Research Council and involves the development and initial trial of a psychological intervention for stalking behaviours. The treatment program, written by Dr Troy McEwan, Dr Tamsin Short and Dr Rachel MacKenzie, is manualised and delivered on an individual basis over six months. Pilot data was collected in 2014 and is being developed into a peer-reviewed article.