The Alannah & Madeline Foundation welcomes the recent announcement of a review into Victoria's legal responses to stalking, harassment and similar conduct by the Victorian Law Reform Commission, with a focus on the safety and wellbeing of victim survivors.
Stalking takes many forms, often in the context of family violence. But being stalked by a peer can also be deeply distressing for children and teens. Under-18s who have been stalked by other children or young people can experience harm to their physical and mental health, school disengagement and/or even suicidal ideation.
At the same time, too many teens have been taught to see controlling and harassing behaviours as ‘normal’, including online.
Far more research is needed into the prevalence, nature and impacts of stalking between children and teens, the rates of male and female perpetration and victimisation, and effective approaches to address these behaviours.
However, the existing scholarship provides some key insights
Considering this, we stress the need for:
If you or someone you know has been affected by this issue, you can access free, confidential counselling from services including:
Want to learn more? We value the work of the Cyberbullying Research Centre on 'Digital Dating Abuse Among Teens,' the research of Internet Matters into vulnerable teens online, the work of scholars like Yolanda Rodríguez-Castro and Emily Waterman on the relationships between cyberstalking and other problem teen behaviours, and the pioneering Australian work of Purcell, Flower and Mullen into stalking behaviours by young people.
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