24-Hour Crisis Hotline: 800-974-3359

January is National Stalking Awareness Month

In January 2004, the National Center for Victims of Crime launched National Stalking Awareness Month (NSAM) to increase the public’s understanding of the crime of stalking. Stalking can be very dangerous, as a stalkers’ behaviors can escalate over time, and become more and more dangerous for the victim. It is important for the victim to know that he/she is not to blame for the stalker’s behavior. Below you will find information related to stalking, as well as important safety tips to follow if you are being stalked.

What is stalking?

While legal definition of stalking vary from one jurisdiction to another, a good working definition of stalking is a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to feel fear.

Some things stalkers may do to their victim:

· Send unwanted gifts, letters, cards, or e-mails.

· Damage the victim’s home, car, or other property.

· Drive by or hang out at your home, school, or work.

· Threaten to hurt the victim, or the victim’s family or friends.

· Monitor the victim’s phone calls or computer use.

· Post information or spread rumors about the victim online.

· Use technology to track the victim.

· Follow their victim.

· Other actions that control, track, or frighten the victim.

Staking Statistics:

· 7.5 million people are stalked annually in the United States.

· Over 85% of stalking victims are stalked by someone they know.

· 61% of female victims and 44% of male victims of stalking are stalked by a current or former intimate partner.

· 25% of female victims and 32% of make victims of stalking are stalked by an acquaintance.

· About 1 in 5 of stalking victims are stalked by a stranger.

· Persons aged 18-24 years old experience the highest rate of stalking.

· 11% of stalking victims have been stalked for 5 years or more.

· 46% of stalking victims experience at least one unwanted contact per week.

Stalking Safety Tips:

· If possible, have a phone nearby at all times, preferably one which the stalker has never had access. Memorize emergency numbers, and make sure that 911 and helpful family or friends are on speed dial.

· Treat all threats, direct and indirect, as legitimate and inform law enforcement immediately.

· Vary routines, including changing routes to work, school, the grocery store, and other places regularly frequented.

· When out of the house or work environment, try not to travel alone and try to stay in public areas.

· Do not interact with the person stalking or harassing you. Responding to stalker’s actions may reinforce their behavior.

· Consider obtaining a protective order against the stalker. Trust your instincts. If you’re somewhere that doesn’t feel safe, either find ways to make is safer, or leave.

If you or someone you know is experiencing stalking, please contact your local Someplace Safe office, or call our 24-hour crisis line at 1.800.974.3359.

For more information and resources on stalking, visit: https://victimsofcrime.org/our-programs/stalking-resource-center

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