The Online Bodyguard®

The Online Bodyguard Podcast - Stalking and Psychological Profiling featuring Dr Lorraine Sheridan

January 22, 2022 Philip Grindell MSc - The Online Bodyguard Season 1 Episode 2
The Online Bodyguard®
The Online Bodyguard Podcast - Stalking and Psychological Profiling featuring Dr Lorraine Sheridan
Show Notes Transcript

Dr Lorraine Sheridan is a Chartered Forensic Psychologist and partner in Defuse®. Lorraine completed Europe’s first PhD on stalking. She is a police accredited offender profiler and compiles psychological reports related to offenders, highlighting the risks posed by known or unknown suspects. Lorraine was formerly a senior academic in Perth, Western Australia.

Dr. Sheridan is the former President of the Asia Pacific Association of Threat Assessment Professionals.

 

This podcast is a masterclass in stalking. It discusses the following:

  • What is stalking?
  • What is the difference between harassment and stalking?
  • Are there different types of stalking?
  • What do you do if you are being stalked?
  • What is psychological profiling?
  • When should you have a profile completed?
Philip Grindell:

Welcome everyone to the first episode of the the online bodyguard podcast. And I'm delighted that on this particular episode, our first one we have a very special guest is my friend and business partner, Dr. Lorraine Sheridan. Hi Lorraine. So, here we are in our very first podcast and who better to have the you not just because you're a partner in the business of Defuse but because you are hugely qualified with massive experience to go with it. So just for those that don't know you, can you kind of just give us a quick resume of of who you are and what you've what your expertise is.

Dr Lorraine Sheridan:

Hi, I'm Lorraine. I have spent the last 25 years researching stalking. Apparently, I am a leading global expert in stalking, harassment, threat assessment and similar things. I was until recently President of the Asia Pacific association of Threat Assessment Professionals. I've been a profiler for the UK police and other police forces. I've been an academic, and I've produced loads and loads and loads of research and various books on things like stalking. The suicide in prisons, all different forms of violence, sexual offending. And I have run courses in forensic psychology, undergraduate and postgraduate. So I am all things forensic psychology. Oh, and I'm a chartered forensic psychologist as well, that will do for now that will do.

Philip Grindell:

So I guess the question that comes to mind is what first kind of interested you about stalking.

Dr Lorraine Sheridan:

Long, long, long, long ago, I was working for the National Health Service in England, I left school at 16. And I didn't really have any qualifications at all. So I've got an entry level job. And I was made redundant when I was about oh, I don't know about 22 to 23. And I thought, What am I going to do with my life? You know, I've always had these kinds of really basic jobs. And I always wanted to go to university so I can stay and I did it. And then in my very final year, I realised I was doing quite well. And I saw this thing called stalking on the telly, you talking 1997, which is when the United Kingdom had its very, very first anti stalking laws. So stalking was big on the telly. And because I was in the last year of my degree, I looked up, you know, in the libraries and things, stalking, what is it? I'm really intrigued by it, I want to know all about it. There was nothing there. So I thought, right? I'm going to do something about this. Nobody knows anything about this in Europe, little bit in the US nothing in Europe, this is my thing. And then I decided to do a PhD on it. So did my final year project for my degree and then a PhD. And as a kid from a council estate in Leicester. I never actually thought do a PhD, but I did. And then I thought you know, one of these days, I'll move on to something else. And I did branch out into other bits of forensic psychology, but I've always stuck with stalking. So yeah, 25 years now.

Philip Grindell:

So when you did your PhD, what was the thesis about?

Dr Lorraine Sheridan:

What I wanted to do was to really kind of map out the course and nature of stalking, because I noticed really early on that a big reason that other people haven't researched it is because it's really tricky to define, you know, because ultimately, when you think about it, it's lots of kind of often everyday behaviours, and it's only when you group them together, like recognise a course of conduct, that you sometimes realise that you've got a problem. Yes, some stalkers can be really dangerous, but they often begin in little dribs and drabs. You know, like that old analogy of the frog in the boiling water, you know that if you kind of put a frog in boiling water, we'll jump out. But Alternatively, if you heat him up slowly, you know, degree by degree, he won't jump out and stalking is like that. It has this difficult quality for people to pin down. And so what I wanted to do was really get an idea of what is it and what do people think it is, and what are we going to do about it? So that was my PhD laying the groundwork for that. Incidentally, the frog thing isn't true. It's just an analogy. But that fact about frogs isn't actually true.

Philip Grindell:

So okay, so how do you define stalking them?

Dr Lorraine Sheridan:

I go with Pathe and Mullen, Australian psychiatrists. They come out with what I think is the best definition about 20 years ago, and they talk about it being a constellation of behaviours. So a whole different range of behaviours, you know, like all the stars in the sky later different behaviours, endless ones, where one person targets another one, and basically upsets them.

Philip Grindell:

So, okay, so what's the difference between stalking and harassment?

Dr Lorraine Sheridan:

Well, that's a really tricky one, because people often use the terms interchangeably, but technically, really, stalking is a form of harassment. So you've got this kind of big umbrella behaviour, harassment, and underneath it for all different kinds of things, you know, sexual harassment, bullying can be a form of harassment. And stalking tends to be considered as a particularly severe, targeted, repetitive form of harassment. So when you got sexual harassment, you know, that's normally got a really particular sexual focus, right? And when you've got bullying, people are normally picking on some particular attribute of the target or the victim. But when it's stalking, it's this persistent never give up all consuming all embracing extreme bother, for want of a better word.

Philip Grindell:

So when so when then does harassment becomes

Dr Lorraine Sheridan:

And that's the magic question Phil that's stalking then? the magic question. Nobody really knows. You know, people always say, look, what is the line? Where is the line? Because if you think about it, say for instance, say you say you and me are in a relationship, right? I know, it's painful for you to imagine. But well imagine that. Sorry, Mrs. Phil. So hypothetical, and you finished with me? I mean, of course, I'd be really upset. Right. And let's say that I phoned you up three times on a Thursday and three times on a Friday crying and wanting to know why. I don't think many people will consider that stalking. Let's say that that's a bit harassing, you know, she's phoned him six times in two days, it clearly don't want to know that that's a bit harassing. And then if I continued that behaviour for a month, and hung around outside your house, accosting you and shouting at you and screaming at you, and sending you letters and texting you, then clearly I am a stalker, but there's no definite line where one turns into the other. You know, I always say it's a bit like great art, you know, you don't really know how to define it, but you tend to know it when you see it.

Philip Grindell:

So I mean, from a policing background, we were, I think, pretty poor at investigating, or not so much investigating, but defining it. And of course, in the UK, the legislation certainly doesn't help that. But certainly one of the things we looked at was, when, you know, people have to start changing their behaviour, because of the harassment they're having. That tends to sort of, then that's when it kind of starts becoming stalking when their behaviour has to change. Because of the harassment.

Dr Lorraine Sheridan:

Yeah, that's a really good one. And that is one that I've actually use myself without knowing that you did the same kind of thing. But you know, when sequence people when I say, think about it, are you? How are you reacting? Are you changing your everyday habits? Do you feel kind of an overall sense of fear of being hunted? And that can be quite difficult to define? Because they say, I don't know, I'm not really sure. I think so. I'm trying not to feel afraid. But that one, your one is beautiful, because it's tangible, isn't it? So you can say to people, have you actually changed behaviour? Are you looking over your shoulder? Have you changed your routines? Have you blocked on no numbers from your phone? If you've changed your behaviour? I think that's a really, really good one. Definitely.

Philip Grindell:

And so I obviously I was fortunate, I did sort of fairly, some really good courses on on stalking and learnt a great deal of, mainly to be honest, towards the end of my career. But I sort of didn't realise initially that there were different types of stalkers that, you know, we, we often hear the term stalking in the media and and in other environments, where it's, it's kind of grouped together as one thing, but that's not actually the case. Is it because stalkers are all very different.

Dr Lorraine Sheridan:

Exactly. You know, Phil, and people have this idea as well in their heads even now, you know, yeah, yeah. When you know, you and me kind of started working in this area a couple of decades ago. You know, you said the, you know, the police did a bad job. Everybody did a bad job everywhere in the world. You don't there just wasn't a shared language. There wasn't a lot of information. But even now, when there is a shared language for most people, and a lot of information, people still have the same problems. Yeah. Oh God, what was the question? I forgot? I've gone off on,

Philip Grindell:

you know, in terms of our different types of stalking Yeah.

Dr Lorraine Sheridan:

Yeah, that's thing, isn't it? People often assume stalkers are this homogenous group. You know, some people think that they're this shadowy strange figure at the other end of an alleyway or computer keyboard, or something. It's solely the province of ex partners. But as we now know, that we're hugely heterogeneous group, so many differences, different researchers and practitioners have come up with various different typologies. But generally speaking, we can say probably about a third, maybe up to a whole of cases involve an ex partner, all right. The rest will be a mix of strangers, acquaintances. But it's even more than that. It's just not just your former relationships, some people will be really quite seriously mentally ill, for example, I've worked on cases where the stalker actually believed that they were married to or had a relationship with somebody that they'd never met. Or they may have had a relationship with them in another life. And they absolutely believed that that you know, in our previous incarnation, 500 years ago, we were married, so I'm going to stalk you until you remember, other people will stop for entirely different motivations. Some people are really like the Hollywood movies. Thankfully, they're rare, in that they'll stalk because, they just like playing with people. It's quarry and prey its sadism, in many, many ways. And is really, really difficult sometimes to distinguish, particularly in the early stages of a stalking case, what the motivation actually is, because often they start very, very slowly. So we may be dealing with somebody who's quite socially incompetent, who wants a relationship with somebody, but they're pretty poor. You know, try to build and demonstrate an intent in a relationship. But on the other hand, we may have somebody that's highly sadistic, incredibly cruel, and intends to completely ruin the life of somebody just because they can. So yeah, loads of different typologies later different motivations is a really big group.

Philip Grindell:

And then presumably, they pose different risks to different people, depending on on their typology.

Dr Lorraine Sheridan:

Absolutely. And it's really difficult for the non specialists, and often even for the specialists to find out which category, a stalker may be longing. And also, you know, we've got some beautiful categories made by different researchers, we've all come up with our own different typologies, none of which are perfect. But it can be really difficult to slot people into those categories as well, because you know, like with anything, categories are a guide. So they give us a really, really good idea of what to expect, in this case from particular types of stalkers and how we should manage or treat them. But people don't always fit neatly into categories. So we do need to always keep that in mind as well. The best category in my opinion, and in most people's opinion, is the Mullen and Pathe one there stalker typology, that is the chief the boss

Philip Grindell:

And so if we if we kind of focus a little bit more on on the areas that we deal with the Defuse which is predominantly more to do with stalking around prominent people, public figures, and even to the extent of figureheads, in terms of business figureheads so not not necessarily domestic relationships. So what's different about about those types of stalkers?

Dr Lorraine Sheridan:

What we tend to see with people that target people of higher status you actually say you know, your big brand figureheads, your public figures, your government representatives, we tend to see higher rates of mental disorder. You know, people often look at kind of you know, your domestic stalkers and say, God, that person was to be really really crackpot, they must be so ill to you know, spend so many months and years of basically ruin their life pursuing somebody. However, most stalkers, domestic stalkers are not diagnosably mentally disordered. They may have substance abuse issues or a few personality issues, but maybe not even those. But your people that go after your public figures, we see higher rates of mental disorder, sometimes quite extreme mental disorder. And although mental disorder And violence don't have a neat relationship, not anywhere in forensic psychology. In fact, people with mental disorder are more likely to be victims of crime than perpetrators. Some people nevertheless, who target public figures can be incredibly dangerous.

Philip Grindell:

And so so what what you know, in terms of dangerous if you are, do they do they ever just kind of give up and go away and they are bored of this now moving on?

Dr Lorraine Sheridan:

Hardly ever, they hardly ever just give up. The thing is would stalkers, any stalkers, domestic public figure, whatever, and it doesn't really matter about the motivation, what they have in common is they're persistent. And then you work in kind of standard human nature. If you put effort into something, you want something out of it, don't you? You know, say you put an effort into building up a business and you spent six years doing it, but it's still going nowhere. Most people still persist, we just do that day is like, you know, the next big clients around the corner, I'm gonna have me breakthrough is going to happen. And stalkers are no exception to that, but they are unusually persistent, they just will not give up and they won't go away. And the longer they do it, the more they put into it, the more worn out they want out of it, the less likely they are to disappear.

Philip Grindell:

And so how do you how do you understand or acknowledge or recognise when things are escalating when things are getting worse, when they're going from, shall we say, you know, stalking, cyber stalking to potentially becoming violent?

Dr Lorraine Sheridan:

Well, there's loads and loads of risk assessments out there, you know, risk assessment, violence risk assessment is a massive industry, multi, multi million dollar pound industry around the world. But a lot of people don't have access to those, do they, they don't have access to these kinds of risk assessment forms, and tests and tools and things. So I always say to people, trust your instincts, the human brain has been around for a long, long, long, long, long, long, long, long time. And think back to you know, the days when we were all at risk of snakes and woolly mammoths wonder if some of us still are, I live in Australia, you know, so I've still got all the senses up, you know, and just think back to those times those bits of your brain maybe a bit more sleepy than they used to be, you know, hundreds of 1000s of years ago, but they're still there. So I say to people, trust your instincts, actually, as well, the study showing that when you're targeted, particularly by persistent chronic criminals, such as a stalker, or domestic violence offender, your instincts are really sharpened. And people just tend to know, they just tend to know like, I can feel it, something's going to happen, we really need to trust that instinct, as I say, you know, proper studies are showing that, however, Phil in the whole world of public figures, they often don't know do they. Because all these people, you know, they may be seen to represent something by the targeted, sorry, by the fixated person, by the stalker. But the recipient of these ideas, these behaviours, these motivations, they often don't know because they're security, don't tell them, the PA doesn't tell them, they get their email screened. So they can't trust their instincts, they just don't know. That's why they need people like you.

Philip Grindell:

So what So what sort of warning signs and if you if you're the PA or you're the security? what sort of warning signs are there, what the red flags that we're looking for,

Dr Lorraine Sheridan:

is a tricky, tricky business. Because sometimes the people that are going to be the most dangerous, look on the face of it to be really benign, just really, really gentle little missives and messages where other people aren't going to cut your head off, and you're the worst person known to humanity, and you'll be dead by Friday and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. They're often just venting. But some red flags do exist, and we always take direct threat seriously. Yeah, particularly from your ex partner stalkers. You know, research with 1000s of cases has found over the years that if an ex partner stalker can makes a really explicit, specific threat, the chances are they're going to do exactly what they're threatening to do. But all the red flags can be a reappearance after a seeming hiatus. Why they suddenly come back, and really big deals or stresses in the life of the fixated person, or the stalker, and any indicator that they've got to the point whereby they've got nothing left to lose. And if they're blaming the person that they're stalking or fixated on that's the biggest red flag of all, I've got nothing left to lose. It's all your fault. Because is difficult to kind of comprehend in some ways that some of these folk, the more they stalk, the more cruel they are to their victims, the more they believe it's the actual victims fault, because they work it out in their heads, and they're all like, well, you know, if this Chief executive, or my ex girlfriend would just give into me, and give me what I wanted, everything will be fine. But they won't give in. They won't give me a million dollars to go away, they won't come back and live with me and be my partner forevermore. So the stalker actually believes that they're the one that has been controlled. They're the one that's suffering. And they're the one that, you know, if the victim just given to them, they'd be fine. They'd be free, and these people become incredibly dangerous, because they feel so victimised even though they're actually the offender, they can sometimes get to the point where they think right, the only way I can stop this is to completely take them out the picture. And sometimes when these people do actually act out fatally, they've described this beautiful relief straight afterwards. It's a release, I did it, I got all the stress and strain away, they're no longer controlling me.

Philip Grindell:

So okay, so I mean, I can remember sort of, sort of the training I have with things like you know, if you're, if you're, if you're receiving emails, and then you start getting phone calls and letters and what have you. So all of a sudden, you get multiple forms of communication, for instance.

Dr Lorraine Sheridan:

Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah. I kind of went off the point a bit denier went there to talk into catatonic range. Yes. So that that is great. Yep. Broaden in and out, broadening out the methods? Exactly. That is a massive red flag. So yeah, as you say, I was only getting emails now. I'm getting phone calls. And any approach. Yeah, if they've not been approaching right from the beginning, but they're approaching there, they suddenly are, you know, it was all emails and phone calls. It was all kind of, you know, nasty, old answer machine rants. But now they've been seen, yeah, that's a massive one. But any kind of broadening broadening out, so we've got end of tether type stuff, you know, total blame on the person that they're bothering, and broadening in board or cause a broadening broadening out their behaviours, you know, using different methods of harassment and stalking, and also broadening out the targets as well. So okay, I've been given for the chief executive officer, and she's not really given me a lot of joy. You know, she's not answering me. But I know where a mum lives. I know, mom's pretty old, and the moms got long COVID. And a mom's not doing very well, because I've read about that on Facebook. So you know, I'm going to harass her mum, hahaha, that will get a rise out of the big boss.

Philip Grindell:

So when they start to move away from the kind of original target to other targets within the same cohort, if you like,

Dr Lorraine Sheridan:

within the same cohort, and they'll do that for a number of reasons, two chief reasons being number one to really upset, you know, the main target. You know, imagine if you if your old mum was getting bothered by your stalker, you're not going to be feel very good about that, or you're not going to be very happy. And the other reason is to find out more information about the target, because stalkers and fixated people can be so very, very, very clever. And this is the thing Phil, people think that, you know, they're kind of weirdos, and they're just odd and they'd be able to spot them. And I've interviewed for research and also kind of working with the victims and survivors of stalking 1000s of victims and survivors. And over the past 25 years, one of the themes that always comes up is oh my gosh, Lorraine, I thought that I would absolutely be able to see a stalker coming. I absolutely believed that they would be weird in some way that be odd. They'd be kind of like freaky people. They'd be these strange, socially isolated weirdos. Not at all. They can be okay, I've seen stalkers convicted stalkers that were doctors that were lawyers that were actually celebrities themselves, you know, from the lowest to the highest and everybody in between. Anybody can be a stalker. Pursue so clever and so resourceful. So

Philip Grindell:

what's the advice and if you if you think you're being stalked, what do you do?

Dr Lorraine Sheridan:

What do you do? First of all, you keep records. Always, always, always, always, always always. Because if you don't keep records, it's going to be even more difficult to convince people. People, you know, they're your friends and family, and people, professionals that can help you, it'll be harder to convince them that you've been targeted. Because it's so difficult to define stalking, it's so difficult to describe it. And for many people, you know, we don't want to admit, that we've been stalked, it's just a bit of hassle, they'll go away eventually. Or, you know, this is my kind of mum's neighbor's daughter's friend that's bothering me. And I don't want to cause trouble. And you know, we can deny it to ourselves. So if we keep a record, though, we can say, Gosh, actually, this is really, really serious. Because research I did with the network for surviving stalking some years ago, UK charity, we asked a lot of people in depth about their experiences of stalking. And we found that in the average case, more than 100 incidents that occurred before people turn around to themselves and said, Yeah, I am actually being stalked, by which time the stalking is entrenched, and the stalkers put a load in and wants to get a load out of it. So keeping records is hugely important, both to demonstrate to yourself what's going on, and then you've got a log, because it's so difficult to define stalking, and agencies, professionals have such a hard time really trying to get their heads around what it is, you'd go with your log. So always keep the evidence, keep everything you can, and even if it's really nasty, give it someone else to keep.

Philip Grindell:

And do you, you know, should you respond? If they're if they're contacting you, should you respond to their contact? Or should you just blank them?

Dr Lorraine Sheridan:

Such a tricky one, because everybody's so different. I mean, in the old days, when we first started research talk in the old days, but you know, we're talking about 20 odd years ago, we always used to say, do not respond, do not ever respond, don't even think about responding just give a blank wall. But it's more subtle than that. So what we tend to advise these days feel is under advice from an expert, if possible, we will work out whether there should be a response. So for example, you see in ex partner cases, if you've got a highly controlling ex partner, particularly when we've seen domestic violence, then evolve into stalking after the relationship ended. And that person is really used to keeping tabs on the person being targeted, and then all of a sudden, no response, this can be really catastrophic to the offender, they can then be like, you know, no, I absolutely have to know what he or she is doing. And I'm going to just barge in there. And, you know, it's going to get very violent and nasty, catastrophic reaction. So in some cases, particularly domestic cases, we can advise these days under expert advice, some little channels of response, particularly in cases as well, where you know, people have shared a relationship and they've got kids together and stuff, you know, sometimes you have to respond. Yep, got a choice have you. But for corporate cases, for example, public figure cases, we usually advise, but not always, do not respond unless you have to. But then the world works against you, doesn't it? Because if you've got things like complaints, processes, and your policy says we respond to complaints in 14 days, you have to respond. And it's very, very difficult actually, I think it's impossible to offer general advice on how to respond. Because there's so so so different, and everybody wants, every stalker wants something different. But what we can say generally is, don't give away any information. Don't make any promises. Don't be overly kind. Don't be mean. Be logical. My friend, Dr. Annabel Chan in Melbourne is very, very wise, and she came up with something very clever, what she calls the persona of the kind robot. So you is a robot. You've been programmed to be kind, but you have no feelings. So you have no cares. You'd have no emotions, you do not get involved. You are kind robot. Because the problem with these people, some of them is you give them the tiniest, tiniest, tiniest, tiniest little bit of space, and the door crashes open. That's it. And this is the thing with stalkers. So you know if they sent you an email, right if they send 85 emails and you break and you respond on the 85th email. What's the message given? "Dear stalker you have to email me 85 times to get me to answer". So kind robot Phil. Yeah, that's the general advice, but some stalkers are also very vexatious, very querulous you know, the kind of people you are, we've all heard about them. In the old days, you know, the 1980s. They used to write all the letters in the local newspapers, didn't they? I remember seeing them all in the Leicester Mercury, same names, week after week, carrying on about fences and councils and bees and whatnot. And then, you know, there's some some of these people tended to graduate and still do. And they clog up the courts. You know, they're the people that 1% of the people taken up 99% of the court time, endless querulous complaints on and on and on. And you give them an inch, and they take a mile, and they turn everything yeah, I'd like conspiracy theories that are kind of related to them in some ways. Every little tiny thing is pulled apart, taken apart and package back to you with bells on, say, you can't give information. Never any promises. Never any assurances, never any information.

Philip Grindell:

So let's move on then, because one of the services that we provide specificly for the reasons that you just talked about is the profiling. So tell me what is profiling.

Dr Lorraine Sheridan:

profiling is when you get Lorraine, and you show her a letter that somebody wrote, yeah. And she tells you how old the person is, what they're wearing, and what football team they support. With that, guys.

Philip Grindell:

That was my next question. What isn't it but actually just answered that one, but yeah, exactly what is your what is profiling,

Dr Lorraine Sheridan:

but that's what you tend to believe, on the telly. And, you know, to this day, you know, I often get young students, you know, when I when I used to work at universities that often get young students coming out, like, I want to do profiling, and I'd say, Okay, how good are you at statistics? Oh, not gonna do statistics, I'm just gonna do profiling, are you going to do that? I'm going to read about lots of different crimes, and then I'll know what's what. So sadly, profiling is nothing like that exciting. What it is, is these days anyway, it's based on evidence. So you know, all scientific fields of inquiry, published studies, don't they, that's how science moves on you test hypotheses, you test ideas, you find out about stuff, you write it, you send it to academic journals, and you know, people then review it and say, if it's any good, and if you look at, you might eventually get all this stuff published. And so luckily, you know, all around the world for a number of years, people have been publishing lots of stuff in forensic psychology. So we know quite a lot about all different samples around the world of sometimes really, really niche, particular offenders. And all those forensic psychology people, we share the unpublished stuff, as well. So profiling is knowing an awful lot of research. And also knowing where the gaps in research are. And knowing how to put it all together to find the type of people that just may be more likely than some other types of people to have done a certain thing, but there's not a big book, you can look in, you have to read literally 1000s and 1000s, and 1000s of academic papers that are scattered to the four winds and the bottom of the ocean, the seven seas and whatever. And you have to know stats. So you have to be really quite decent at knowing how powerful all these statistical connections are. And then you need to know your psychology as well. So you need to know all about kind of different theories of personality, and you need to know how they all work together, and various mental disorders and how humans react in certain situations. And so when you pull all that together, you tend after many, many years of kind of study and continued, you know, self directed learning, you may have a decent idea of who is more likely, and somebody else to do a particular bad thing.

Philip Grindell:

We've worked on a case recently, which obviously, we're not going to disclose but the feedback from the profile that you produced when they've continued their behaviour was it was almost that the client is saying it was almost like it was a horoscope in terms of it was bang on this is exactly what was predicted was exactly how they're behaving. But that's based on huge expertise and huge you know, years and years of research and knowledge. And, you know, that's not a course you go on if you do this and the reason that obviously we, we do this product and service and the reason why you do it for us it you know, as part of the businesses because it's literally decades of expertise that allows you to, to look at all that literature around someone all the correspondence or the information around their social media, everything else that they might have. And from that, you can then give a an outline of what how that person may behave and what threats they may pose.

Dr Lorraine Sheridan:

I didn't know the client said that you see you never tell me nice things. You tell him the whole global, That's lovely. Yeah, you're exactly right. No, you're exactly right. So, you know, I think I was probably like, you know, like the students that I still meet these days, I always thought that oh, yeah, I'll go on a course maybe like a Master's course or do a PhD or something. And then I'll know all this stuff. I knew naught point naught naught naught naught one of it. So, yeah, it's just been years 20. Actually, I keep saying 25 years, it's 26. It's 2022. Already, isn't it? 26 years of spending at least 25 -30, often a lot more hours a week, reading this stuff, researching in the area myself, you know, creating the actual studies myself and getting them published in scientific journals, and interviewing people and talking to both offenders, victims, and also witnesses for 25 years. And then that allows me to build up a mental map of the kind of routes that people take.

Philip Grindell:

So when would you advise people to have a profile done?

Dr Lorraine Sheridan:

When they've got somebody that just won't go away? You know, and people do try a few things. Yeah, in a perfect world, people would come to you straight away, and will say, Oh, you know, no, no, don't respond like that. Because that will make the person come back and make them really angry, and dah, dah, dah, dah, dah. But you know, that's not what human nature is. And so if you've got somebody that just won't go away, and or you just don't know who they are, so although I can't tell you probably, you know, the home address and what football team they support, what I might be able to do is say whether this person is actually somebody you know, because often stalkers tend to be strangers, and they are very, very not strangers, or may be able to tell you what they really, really want. And whether you've met them before or not, and what they may be doing next, and what we should or shouldn't be doing to impact what they're going to do next, you see what it's all about in the modern age, the whole approach to risk assessment, violence and threat assessment these days, it's all about scenario planning. You know, like, you know, the kind of stuff when you think about all the generals years ago, with a great big map, you know, working out, if we send a few troops down there, and we plant a bomb down there, then this and that man up, and it's like that, you know, scenario planning. So we think about what the worst case scenario might be, this person's going to rock up, you know, with a gun at the headquarters in New York, oh that's going to be bad. And then we can work back from there. What can we do? That would actually, you know, aid that happening, so therefore, we aren't going to do it, and what could we do to stop that happening? Or we can do it for really big scenarios, like somebody you know, we think if this person continues this route, they may plan a large bomb, or, you know, one to one scenarios as well. This person, you know, they've had an acrimonious breakup. If the person who then became a stalker sees his ex with a new boyfriend, he is going to act out violently. What are we going to do to stop us getting there? It's all about scenario planning. So if people think of a scenario in their head and they just think I don't like this, this feels awkward. I like this person. I don't like what they're doing and I've got it in my mind that this is going to get worse. That's another reason why you should then seek a profile if possible.

Philip Grindell:

Fabulous, so okay, there I'm coming to the end of our inaugural podcast. So before we, before we end, then let's kind of sort of tell people what was coming next. Because our next podcast in February is going to be with Richard Levick, who is the Chairman and CEO of Levick, a crisis communication and public affairs firm. hugely, hugely influential. They've been involved in the Venezuelan crisis, Qatar, and the Gulf WarGuantanamo Bay Catholic Church and many others. Richard is has been on a huge amount of times, but he's one of the 100 most influential people in the boardroom. So catch us for that one, because that's going to be really interesting. I spoke to Richard a few times. And what he doesn't know about how to manage crisis is probably not worth knowing. So so we'll look forward to that in February. Lorraine, thank you so much, as always, your own inimitable style, which is why we love you. So thank you for that. And we'll see you all very soon. Thank you.