Advisor: Police poorly trained in domestic stalking

Linda van der Giesen (Photo: Facebook). (Linda van der Giesen (Photo: Facebook))

The police do not receive sufficient training on how to assess stalking cases in the correct way, according to forensic psychologist Eric Blaauw in an interview with Dutch newspaper AD. 

Stalking has received much attention over the past few weeks after the murders of Raja Draaisma in Hoofddorp and Linda van der Giesen in Waalwijk, two similar cases in which the women's ex-boyfriends are the main suspects.

Linda van der Giesen was shot and killed in the parking lot of the Tweesteden hospital in Waalwijk on Monday last week. Ex-boyfriend John F. has been arrested. The police have acknowledged an error in judgement in this case. Linda reported to the police several times that F. was threatening her and may have a gun, but the police did not intervene. An internal investigation is currently being conducted into the circumstances surrounding this case.

Raja Draaisma was shot down in front of a pizza place in Hoofddorp in June. Ex-boyfriend Ferry de G. has been arrested. The police knew that Ferry de G. owned a firearm. Raja also reported that De G. was eavesdropping on her and that she found listening devices in her home and car.

Blaauw told the newspaper that both are "sad cases", but believes that the fact that they followed each other so shortly is a coincidence as very few stalking cases end in fatalities. He added that "of course mistakes were made by the police" in recent years, but would not comment on the specific cases. "But it is clear that few officers are adequately trained. Stalking is a complicated phenomenon."

According to the forensic psychologist, there are four different stalkers and they should all be treated differently. There is the lovesick stalker, the delusional stalker, the sadistic stalker and stalkers who harass their ex-partner. 80 percent of stalkers are male and the majority fall into the last category.

Each type of stalker should be approached differently, Blaauw said to the AD. For example, sadistic stalkers are most dangerous and difficult to approach because they get a kick out of police attention. While with a lovesick stalker, a short talking to from the police is usually enough to make them back off.

Police spokesperson Remco Gerretsen told the AD that police training includes adequate attention to stalking. He previously said to the newspaper that cases involving stalking are always complex. "What if an ex knows that his or her partner would like red roses at their funeral and since they've been a part sends red roses every day?" he said. "That is intimidating, but not punishable. That makes it difficult."