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Behav Sci Law. 2011 Jan-Feb;29(1):64-80. doi: 10.1002/bsl.922. Epub 2010 Mar 29.

Stalkers and harassers of British royalty: an exploration of proxy behaviours for violence.

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Thomas Embling Hospital, Fairfield, Victoria 3078, Australia.


Study of risk factors for violence to prominent people is difficult because of low base rates. This study of harassers of the royal family examined factors suggested in the literature as proxies for violence--breaching security barriers, achieving proximity, approach with a weapon, and approach with homicidal ideation. A stratified sample of different types of approach behaviour was randomly extracted from 2,332 Royalty Protection Police files, which had been divided into behavioural types. The final sample size was 275. Significant differences in illness symptomatology and motivation were found for each proxy group. Querulants were significantly over-represented in three of the four groups. There was generally little overlap between the proxy groups. There is no evidence of the proxy items examined being part of a "pathway to violence". Different motivations may be associated with different patterns of risk. Risk assessment must incorporate knowledge of the interactions between motivation, mental state, and behaviour.

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