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.

For more infor­ma­tion, please con­tact the State’s Attorney’s Office at 618–833-7216.  Addi­tion­al infor­ma­tion is also avail­able at www.stalkingawarenessmonth.org and www.ovw.usdoj.gov.