Pylarinou, Ntaniella- Roumpini (2020) STALKING: PERPETRATION, VICTIMIZATION AND STALKING MYTH ACCEPTANCE IN GREECE AND THE UNITED KINGDOM. Doctoral thesis, University of Huddersfield.

Introduction: Stalking is a complex crime that has been a part of people’s interpersonal relationships for centuries. It was first criminalized in 1990s in the US, and it was subsequently criminalized in other countries such as England and Wales (Protection against Harassment Act, 1997 and Freedom of Protection Act 2012) and the European Union (Istanbul Convention, 2014); other countries such as Greece have no anti-stalking legislation. Many aspects of stalking have been researched such as victimization, perpetration, stalking acknowledgment, Stalking Myth Acceptance and Stalking Typologies. The purpose of this study was to examine all the above topics using a Greek sample, as there is no social awareness of the crime and no anti-stalking legislation. Furthermore, by using a sample from another country (UK) with anti-stalking legislation, to examine similarities and differences between the two samples. This will allow the true nature of the crime to be uncovered alongside what other aspects (Gender Role Stereotypes, Romantic Scale Beliefs and Hostility towards Women) can affect stalking.

Methodology: A total of 1068 participants were recruited (529 Greek participants and 539 UK participants), aged 16-79 years old for Greek participants and 17-76 years old for the UK participants. The participants were members of the public and were asked to complete the same questionnaire, translated into Greek for the Greek participants. The questionnaire included a Demographics section, Experience with stalking (victimization, perpetration and stalking behaviours experienced and carried out towards others), Stalking Myth Acceptance, Gender Roles Stereotypes, Romantic Scale belief and Hostility towards Women.

Results: The results illustrated that both samples experienced stalking and stalked other individuals, but stalking acknowledgment was an issue for both victimization and perpetration. For the Stalking Myths analysis, men endorse Stalking Myths more than women, age and education also have varying effects in stalking myth endorsement. Endorsement of GRS and HTW can affect SMA endorsement for both samples and for the Greek sample RSB also effects SMA. A Smallest Space Analysis was used to examine stalking typology with regards to stalking behaviours for victimization and perpetration revealed three themes (intimacy, aggression, and sexuality) for both samples and two for perpetration (intimacy and sexuality).

Discussion: The cultural differences that affected the results for each sample were discussed alongside other aspects that affected the current results. The implications with regards to each country were discussed, specifically the need for Greece to create an anti-stalking legislation and the need for more awareness for stalking in younger ages (adolescence and young adults) and male victimization for both countries. Limitations of the study and suggestions for future research focusing on adolescents and cyberstalking are also discussed.

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