LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 10, 2015) — TK Logan, professor in the University of Kentucky Department of Behavioral Science and the Center on Drug & Alcohol Research, and a team of researchers recently launched an online assessment for victims of stalking and harassment.
"Kentucky has the highest rate of stalking in the nation: one in four women in Kentucky will be stalked compared to one in six nationally,” Logan said. “To help address this issue, we have translated 20 years of research into a tool for use by a variety of audiences. We are proud that something like this came from research in Kentucky where we need to do something about the prevalent issue of stalking to protect victims, children, and communities."
The Stalking and Harassment Assessment and Risk Profile (SHARP) is a confidential, 43-item assessment developed from research, clinical literature, stories from stalking victims, and case studies. According to the website, the goals of SHARP are to assess the "big picture" of a victim's stalking situation by examining conduct, concern for safety, unwantedness, and potential harms, and also educating victims about risks and offering safety suggestions.
"Sometimes it is hard for people to 'see' or recognize when they or someone they know are being stalked," said Logan. "SHARP not only helps a person with understanding the situation better but also helps to point out some red flags for when it might be more dangerous."
Based on a victim's responses to the questions, two individually-tailored narrative reports are generated that assess his or her stalking situation and offer safety suggestions.
"People often have a hard time understanding the seriousness of stalking because it happens one incident at a time," said Teri Faragher, executive director of the Domestic Violence Prevention Board. "The incidents, when viewed individually like snapshots, do not seem as serious as when they are viewed as a whole, like a film. SHARP creates a dynamic narrative that helps victims, their friends and family and the criminal justice system connect the dots to understand the big picture. It also provides a foundation for action by identifying stalkers' patterns of behavior, potentials points of intervention, and avenues to enhance victims’ safety."
SHARP has been used all over the nation by victims, attorneys, victim advocates, and law enforcement. So far, the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. The research team hopes to receive funding to more systematically examine how this tool can be useful in safety planning with stalking victims.
"Victims of stalking fear physical and sexual assault and become exhausted from the ongoing harassment, threats, harassment of friends and family, and life sabotage,” said Logan. “What can someone do about that? This is the driving research question and SHARP is one tool along the way in that journey."
For more information about SHARP, visit http://www.cdar.uky.edu/CoerciveControl/