Contrary to sensationalist crime dramas and horror movies, not all stalkers are raging psychopaths- most are ex boyfriends or girlfriends unable to deal with failed relationships.
According to the British Crime Survey, 1 in 5 women and 1 in 10 men have suffered unwanted attention from a stalker at some point in their lives.
‘Stalking’ includes anything from bombarding someone with texts and calls, to following, approaching or impersonating them with malicious intent.
Stalking is commonly known to lead to terrible violence and in some cases, murder. Researchers found that 3 in 4 women murdered by their former partners had been stalked or harassed beforehand. This crime is referred to, rather chillingly, as ‘murder in slow motion’.
Forensic psychiatrist Frank Farnham believes there are 4 types of stalker.
1. The first kind is known as the ‘rejected and resentful’- these are people who can’t handle a failed relationship and want to reunite with or hurt their ex-partner.
2. The second is known as the ‘incompetent suitors’ who are slightly autistic and may exhibit inappropriate behaviour.
3. The third are referred to as the ‘pathologically infatuated’, who have delusions of love.
4. The fourth is the most severe, known as ‘predatory’. Predatory stalkers tend to have made plans of attack and are often found with ropes and handcuffs.
Dr Farnham is the co-founder of the new clinic that opens today In Haringey, North London. He said: “If we can treat stalkers we can save lives. There is a great need for a co-ordinated national service that can provide specialist advice and treatment.”
There is evidence that offenders with mental health problems can be treated with drugs (such as anti-depressants), cognitive behaviour therapy and social skills training.
The clinic is backed by the police force and the Home Office.
View and comment on the original Independent article.