Mapping Cyber-Enabled Crime: Understanding Police Investigations and Prosecutions of Cyberstalking


Stalking is one of the main types of abusive behaviour facilitated by technology. The purpose of the current study was twofold: to identify the challenges of cyberstalking investigations and prosecutions in Australia and determine how best to investigate these types of offences. A qualitative analysis of four years of interviews, focus groups and participant observations with police departments provides an overview of the cyberstalking investigative process. The findings map out the process from the initial report of the incident to the preparation of the prosecution brief. This analysis positions cyberstalking investigations as an interesting case study in the midst of increased scrutiny about the way that police investigate technology-facilitated abuse.

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Published: 2022-12-01
Pages:25 to 39
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How to Cite
O’Shea, B., Asquith, N. L. and Prichard, J. (2022) “Mapping Cyber-Enabled Crime: Understanding Police Investigations and Prosecutions of Cyberstalking”, International Journal for Crime, Justice and Social Democracy, 11(4), pp. 25-39. doi: 10.5204/ijcjsd.2096.

Author Biographies

Edith Cowan University

Brianna O’Shea is a Lecturer in Ethical Hacking and Defense, Computing and Security, within the School of Science at Edith Cowan University. She is an Adjunct Researcher at the Tasmanian Institute of Law Enforcement Studies at the University of Tasmania. Brianna received the Australian Postgraduate Award for her PhD study titled 'The Investigation and Prosecution of Cyberstalking in Australia'. Her research interests focus on policing cybercrime and cyber-enabled crime and the human factors in cyber security.

University of Tasmania

Nicole L. Asquith is the Professor of Policing and Emergency Management, and Director of the Tasmanian Institute of Law Enforcement Studies at the University of Tasmania. Nicole has worked with and for policing organisations for over 20 years, primarily in relation to the preparedness of police for managing complex interpersonal violence. She has published widely on vulnerability and policing, hate crimes, family and domestic violence, elder abuse, and honour-based violence, including Policing Practices and Vulnerable People (2021), Crime and Criminology (6e, 2017), Policing Encounters with Vulnerability (2017), Policing Vulnerability (2012), and Critical Policing Studies (2022, forthcoming).

University of Tasmania

Jeremy Prichard is an Associate Professor of Criminal Law at the University of Tasmania and an Adjunct Associate Professor at the University of Queensland. His earlier professional roles included appointments at the Australian Institute of Criminology, the Queensland Department of the Premier and Cabinet, and the Queensland Crime and Misconduct Commission. Jeremy collaborates with multiple disciplines to develop novel strategies to reduce the harms of crime. He has researched the market for online child sexual abuse material since 2011. Jeremy has recently published the results of experiments that show how online messages can be used to prevent online crimes.