Stalking: Know It. Name It. and Help Stop It.

January is National Stalking Awareness Month, a time to focus on a crime that affected 6.6 million victims in one year.[i] The theme – “Stalking: Know It. Name It. Stop It” – challenges the nation to fight this dangerous crime by learning more about it.

Someplace Safe provided services to 4,500 victims of crime each year. In fact, stalking is a crime in all 50 states, the U.S. Territories and the District of Columbia, yet many victims and criminal justice professionals underestimate its seriousness and impact. In one of five cases, stalkers use weapons to harm or threaten victims,[ii] and stalking is one of the significant risk factors for femicide (homicide of women) in abusive relationships.[iii] Victims suffer anxiety, social dysfunction, and severe depression at much higher rates than the general population, and many lose time from work or have to move as a result of their victimization.[iv]

“We see many victims of stalking that are also victims of other crimes, such as domestic and sexual violence,” says Becki Jordan, Director of Advocacy “unfortunately, the stalking incidents are often overlooked and other issues or crimes take precedence over it.” Stalking can be difficult to recognize, investigate, and prosecute. Unlike other crimes, stalking is not a single easily identifiable crime but a series of acts, a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause that person fear. Stalking may take many forms, such as assaults, threats, vandalism, burglary, or animal abuse, as well as unwanted cards, calls, gifts or visits. One in four victims reports that the stalker uses technology, such as computers, global positioning system devices, or hidden cameras, to track the victim’s daily activities. [v] Stalkers fit no standard psychological profile, and many stalkers follow their victim’s from one jurisdiction to another, making it difficult for authorities to investigate and prosecute their crimes.

Communities that understand stalking, however, can support victims and combat the crime. “If more people learn to recognize stalking,” says Jordan, “we have a better chance to protect victims and prevent tragedies.”

Someplace Safe will be promoting Stalking Awareness Month and offers educational presentations for those who would like to learn more about stalking and the services we provide. Please contact your local advocacy office or Becki, Director Advocacy at Becki.J@someplacesafe.info for more information.

For additional resources to help promote National Stalking Awareness Month, please visit www.stalkingawarenessmonth.org and www.ovw.usdoj.gov.


[i] Michele C. Black et al., “The National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey: 2010 Summary Report,” (Atlanta, GA: National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2011).

[ii] Katrina Baum et al., “Stalking Victimization in the United States,” (Washington, DC: Bereau if Justice Statistics, 2009).

[iii] Jaquelyn C. Campbell et al,. “Risk Factors for Femicide in Abusive Relationships: Results from a Multi-site Case Control Study,” American Journal of Public Health 93 (2003): 7.

[iv] Ibid.

[v] Baum, Stalking Victimization in the United States.

 

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