The British Journal of Psychiatry
Stalking: false claims of victimisation.
M Pathé, P E Mullen, R Purcell

Abstract

BACKGROUND False allegations of victimisation although uncommon are important to recognise. This paper examines those who falsely claim to have been the victims of stalking.

AIMS To highlight the phenomenon of false victims of stalking.

METHOD Twelve individuals who falsely claimed to be victims of stalking were compared with a group of 100 true stalking victims.

RESULTS False stalking victims presented for help earlier than real victims and were less likely to claim harassment via letters. They reported equivalent levels of violence directed at themselves but seldom claimed others were attacked. Five types of false claimants were recognisable. False victims consumed more medical services than genuine stalking victims and they were more likely to be embroiled in legal action. They reported similar levels of distress with suicidal ruminations in over 40%.

CONCLUSIONS The current interest in stalking is promoting false claims of being stalked. Early identification of these cases and appropriate intervention are essential to both minimising abuses of resources available to true victims and equally to ensure appropriate care for those who express their own disordered state in false claims of victimisation.