January is Stalking Awareness Month
Saving Grace is honoring National Stalking Awareness Month this January. Stalking is a dangerous crime that affected 6.6 million adults in the United States in one year. The better we understand the facts about stalking, the more we can do to stop it. With your help we can raise awareness of what stalking is and how we can help victims of stalking.
In 2004 The Stalking Resource Center, National Center for Victims of Crime, and the Office on Violence Against Women, U.S. Department of Justice, launched National Stalking Awareness Month. Every January since then, communities across the country have focused on stalking – holding events, sharing information, and building awareness about the crime.
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, and stalking is one of the significant risk factors for femicide (homicide of women) in abusive relationships. 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.
Stalking is 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 camer¬as, to track the victim’s daily activities. Stalkers fit no standard psychological profile, and many stalk¬ers follow their victims 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.