4906.0 - Personal Safety, Australia, 2016  
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EXPERIENCE OF STALKING

The 2016 Personal Safety Survey (PSS) collected information from men and women aged 18 years and over about their experience of stalking by a male and by a female since the age of 15.

In the PSS, stalking is defined as any unwanted contact or attention on more than one occasion that could have caused fear or distress, or multiple types of unwanted contact or behaviour experienced on one occasion only that could have caused fear or distress. Behaviours used to define stalking episodes for the 2016 PSS were:
  • loitered or hung around outside their home
  • loitered or hung around outside their workplace, school or education facility
  • loitered or hung around outside their place of leisure/social activities
  • followed or watched them in person
  • followed or watched them using an electronic tracking device (e.g. GPS tracking system, computer spyware)
  • maintained unwanted contact with them by phone, postal mail, email, text messages or social media websites
  • posted offensive or unwanted messages, images or personal information on the internet about them
  • impersonated them online to damage their reputation
  • hacked or accessed their email, social media or other online account without their consent to follow or track them
  • gave or left them objects where they could be found that were offensive or disturbing
  • interfered with or damaged any of their property.

For more information on Stalking, refer to the Stalking page of the Personal Safety Survey, Australia: User Guide, 2016 (cat. no. 4906.0.55.003).


EXPERIENCE OF STALKING SINCE THE AGE OF 15

Overall, women were more likely to have experienced stalking than men. An estimated 1 in 6 women (17% or 1.6 million) and 1 in 15 men (6.5% or 587,000) experienced an episode of stalking since the age of 15. Refer to Table 34.

Graph Image for PERSONS AGED 18 YEARS AND OVER, Whether experienced stalking since the age of 15 by sex and sex of perpetrator

Footnote(s): (a) People may have been stalked by both a male and female perpetrator. Therefore components may not add to the total.

Source(s): Personal Safety Survey, 2016


Of the estimated 1.6 million women aged 18 years and over who had experienced an episode of stalking since the age of 15, 94% of these women (1.5 million) were stalked by a male and approximately 10% (160,700) were stalked by a female.

Men who had experienced an episode of stalking (587,000) were as likely to have experienced stalking by a male stalker 54% (316,700) as by a female stalker 51% (300,100).Endnote 1


STALKING IN THE LAST 12 MONTHS

In the 12 months prior to the survey, an estimated 3.1% of all women aged 18 years and over (288,200) and 1.7% of all men aged 18 years and over (153,600) experienced an episode of stalking. Refer to Table 34.

Both men and women were more likely to have experienced stalking by a male than by a female. Of the men and women who had experienced an episode of stalking in the last 12 months:
  • 88% of women had been stalked by a male compared to 15% who had been stalked by a female
  • 69% of men had been stalked by a male compared to 36% who had been stalked by a female.


MOST RECENT EPISODE OF STALKING SINCE THE AGE OF 15

Relationship to perpetrator in the most recent episode

Women were more likely to have experienced an episode of stalking by someone they knew than by a stranger. An estimated 75% of women (1.1 million) who experienced stalking by a male and 89% of women (143,100) who experienced stalking by a female knew their most recent stalker. Refer to Table 35.

An estimated 95% of men (286,300) who experienced stalking by a female knew their most recent stalker. Refer to Table 36.

Men were just as likely to be stalked by a known male as by a male stranger in the most recent episode of stalking.

Types of stalking behaviours experienced by women in the most recent episode Endnote 2

Of the women who experienced an episode of stalking by a male (1.5 million), the most common stalking behaviours experienced in the most recent episode were:
  • maintained unwanted contact by phone, postal mail, email, text messages or social media websites (50% or 747,500)
  • loitered or hung around outside their home (47% or 691,200)
  • followed or watched them in person (42% or 627,300).

Of the women who experienced an episode of stalking by a female (160,700), the most common stalking behaviour experienced in the most recent episode was:
  • maintained unwanted contact by phone, postal mail, email, text messages or social media websites (58% or 92,500).

Refer to Table 35.

Graph Image for WOMEN WHO EXPERIENCED STALKING, Selected types of stalking behaviours (a)(b) by sex of perpetrator (c)

Footnote(s): (a) Most recent episode of stalking since the age of 15. (b) Not all stalking behaviours shown. (c) People may have experienced more than one stalking behaviour and/or experienced stalking by a male and a female. Therefore components may sum to more than 100% and cannot be summed to produce totals. (d) Maintained unwanted contact by phone, postal mail, email, text messages or social media websites. (e) Posted offensive or unwanted messages, images or personal information on the internet about them.

Source(s): Personal Safety Survey, 2016



Types of stalking behaviours experienced by men in the most recent episode Endnote 2

Of the men who experienced an episode of stalking by a male (316,700), the most common stalking behaviours experienced in the most recent episode were:
  • loitered or hung around outside their home (43% or 135,200)
  • maintained unwanted contact by phone, postal mail, email, text messages or social media websites (38% or 119,300)
  • followed or watched them in person (26% or 81,200)
  • interfered with or damaged their property (24% or 74,400).

Of the men who experienced an episode of stalking by a female (300,100), the most common stalking behaviours experienced in the most recent episode were:
  • maintained unwanted contact by phone, postal mail, email, text messages or social media websites (57% or 171,500)
  • loitered or hung around outside their home (41% or 122,900)
  • followed or watched them in person (39% or 115,500).

Refer to Table 36.

Graph Image for MEN WHO EXPERIENCED STALKING, Selected types of stalking behaviours (a)(b) by sex of perpetrator (c)

Footnote(s): (a) Most recent episode of stalking since the age of 15. (b) Not all stalking behaviours shown. (c) People may have experienced more than one stalking behaviour and/or experienced stalking by a male and a female. Therefore components may sum to more than 100% and cannot be summed to produce totals. (d) Maintained unwanted contact by phone, postal mail, email, text messages or social media websites.

Source(s): Personal Safety Survey, 2016



MOST RECENT EPISODE OF STALKING IN THE LAST 20 YEARS

The remainder of this chapter refers to characteristics of the most recent episode of stalking that occurred in the last 20 years, by male and female stalkers.

Approximately 1.2 million women experienced their most recent episode of stalking by a male in the last 20 years, whilst approximately 146,600 experienced their most recent episode of stalking by a female during this period. Refer to Table 35.

For men, an estimated 282,400 experienced their most recent episode of stalking by a male in the last 20 years, whilst 256,700 experienced their most recent episode of stalking by a female during this period. Refer to Table 36.

Whether the most recent episode of stalking was perceived as a crime at the time

Half of all women who experienced stalking perceived their most recent episode as wrong but not a crime (48% of women (557,800) stalked by a male and 51% of women (74,200) stalked by a female). Refer to Table 35.

Men were less likely to perceive their most recent episode of stalking by a female as a crime (23% or 58,500) compared to being stalked by a male (49% or 139,600), and more likely to perceive it as something that just happens (27% of men (68,300) stalked by a female compared to 11% of men (30,900) stalked by a male). Refer to Table 36.

Whether police were contacted about the most recent episode of stalking

Women were more likely to contact the police about their most recent episode of stalking by a female stalker (37% or 54,400) than by a male stalker (29% or 337,300).

Graph Image for WOMEN WHO EXPERIENCED STALKING (a), Whether contacted police about most recent stalking episode by sex of perpetrator(b)

Footnote(s): (a) Contacting the police includes where the police were contacted by the respondent or by someone else. (b) Due to rounding and the effect of perturbation the sum of components may add to more than 100%. For more details, refer to Endnote 3.

Source(s): Personal Safety Survey, 2016


Men were more likely to contact the police about their most recent episode of stalking by a male stalker (47% or 132,100) than by a female stalker (18% or 46,400). Refer to Table 37.

Graph Image for MEN WHO EXPERIENCED STALKING (a),Whether contacted police about most recent stalking episode by sex of perpetrator (b)

Footnote(s): (a) Contacting the police includes where the police were contacted by the respondent or by someone else. (b) Due to rounding and the effect of perturbation the sum of components may add to more than 100%. For more details, refer to Endnote 3.

Source(s): Personal Safety Survey, 2016



Reasons for not contacting the police about the most recent episode of stalking Endnote 2

For women who experienced stalking by a male, the most common reasons for not contacting the police for their most recent episode were:
  • feeling that they could deal with it themselves (44% or 364,800)
  • did not regard it as a serious offence (29% or 242,100).

For men who experienced stalking by a female, the most common reason for not contacting the police for their most recent episode was:
  • feeling that they could deal with it themselves (46% or 97,100).

Refer to Table 37.

ENDNOTES

Endnote 1

Frequencies of those who experienced stalking by a male and a female in this section are produced from published figures in Table 34.

Endnote 2

More than one response may have been given so proportions may sum to more than 100%.

Endnote 3

To minimise the risk of identifying individuals in aggregate statistics, perturbation has been applied. Perturbation involves a small random adjustment of the statistics and is considered the most satisfactory technique for avoiding the release of identifiable statistics while maximising the range of information that can be released. However as a result, these random adjustments of estimates may result in the sum of components not equalling the total or subtotal. For more details, refer to the Explanatory Notes of this publication.