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National Stalking Awareness Month

By on January 15, 2016

Did you know that during a 12-month period, an estimated 3.4 million persons age 18 or older were victims of stalking? That’s according to the Stalking Resource Center, which works to educate the public on stalking, and how to protect yourself from being a victim.

Stalking is defined as a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to feel fear. Raising awareness for the month of January is the goal of National Stalking Awareness Month.

Stalking Safety Tips

  • If possible, have a phone nearby at all times, preferably one to 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. Limit time spent alone and try to shop at different stores and visit different bank branches.
  • When out of the house or work environment, try not to travel alone and try to stay in public areas.
  • Get a new, unlisted phone number.  Leave the old number active and connected to an answering machine or voicemail.  Have a friend, advocate, or law enforcement screen the calls, and save any messages from the stalker.  These messages, particularly those that are explicitly abusive or threatening, can be critical evidence for law enforcement to build a stalking case against the offender.

American Stalking Laws

 

  • Stalking is a crime under the laws of 50 states, the District of Columbia, the U.S. Territories, and the Federal government.
  • Less than 1/3 of states classify stalking as a felony upon first offense.
  • More than 1/2 of states classify stalking as a felony upon second or subsequent offense or when the crime involves aggravating factors.
  • Aggravating factors may include: possession of a deadly weapon, violation of a court order or condition of probation/parole, victim under 16 years, or same victim as prior occasions.

For more information on National Stalking Awareness Month:

National Center for Victims of Crime
2000 M Street NW, Suite 480
Washington, DC 20036
(202) 467-8700
(202) 467-8701 Fax

Content for this article provided by the Bureau of Justice Statistics, and the Stalking Resource Center.