FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 6, 2017
January Is National Stalking Awareness Month
Union County State’s Attorney Tyler R. Edmonds is alerting the public that January is National Stalking Awareness Month – a time to focus on a crime that affected 7.5 million victims in one year. The theme, “Stalking: Know It. Name It. Stop It.” challenges the nation to fight this dangerous crime by learning more about it.
The National Center for Victims of Crime started Stalking Awareness Month in 2004. Stalking is defined as a “pattern of behavior that makes you feel afraid, nervous, harassed, or in danger” and can involve repeated physical or verbal contact, unwanted gifts, communication as well as threats and other harmful conduct. The majority of stalking victims are women, as women are three times more likely to be stalked in their lifetime compared to men.
Stalking is most often committed by someone the victim knows personally, such as a previous or current intimate partner. The Bureau of Justice Statistics Special Report found that 3 out of 4 victims knew their stalker on a personal level.
Since the rise of technology, stalking has expanded into multiple forms. Stalkers not only employ social media and texting as a means to contact the victim, they can also monitor their victim’s computer use and internet history through spyware software.
Stalking is a crime punishable by law in all 50 states. Victims can access support and help from victim services support agencies, crisis hotlines, police, protection from abuse court orders, domestic violence programs and sexual assault programs.
The Union County State’s Attorney’s Office encourages community members to report incidents of stalking and promote awareness and public education about stalking during the annual observance.