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Category: News

January 1, 2017

The National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV) recognizes January as National Stalking Awareness Month. Stalking is a misunderstood crime with startling statistics: in one year, 7.5 million people were stalked in the United States; one in six women and one in 19 men have experienced stalking at some point in their lifetime; and 61 percent of female stalking victims are stalked by someone they know. [1, 2]

The U.S. Department of Justice defines stalking as a pattern of repeated, unwanted contact, harassment, or attention directed at a specific person that would cause them to feel fear. [3] Acts of stalking include repeated, unwanted communications via phone or internet, including text messages, email, and social media; sending unwanted items such as gifts or flowers; following or showing up at a person’s place of residence, work, school, or recreation; damaging one’s property; and/or making direct or indirect threats towards a person, or their family, friends, or pets.

Stalkers often use weapons to threaten and intimidate victims and stalking is a component in 75 percent of domestic homicides. Victims of stalking often face anxiety and depression, and can even lose work time (or their jobs) as a result of stalking. In NNEDV’s 10th annual Domestic Violence Counts census report, a Florida advocate reported that a survivor was harassed by her abuser so much that she had to change jobs three times. [4] Despite its prevalence and the potential to become fatal, stalking is a crime that is rarely charged. [5]

This January, NNEDV continues to raise awareness about the seriousness of stalking. Here are a few ways you can more learn about stalking, hold offenders accountable, and support victims:

  • Let’s Talk:  We can build a supportive community and decrease stigma around domestic violence through conversation. Use our 10 Tips to Have an Informed Conversation about Domestic Violence and challenge widely-held perceptions about domestic violence.
  • Netflix and Critical Dialogue:  Domestic violence (including stalking) often becomes normalized – or even romanticized – in our culture through media. Watch a movie that addresses these issues and start having critical discussions with your family and friends using our Movie Night Conversation Guide!
  • There’s an App for That:  NNEDV's Safety Net project has worked to address the intersection of domestic violence and technology safety for over a decade. We launched a Tech Safety App that provides tools and resources for advocates and victims of technology-facilitated abuse. We also provide tips to increase online safety on YouTube, Twitter, and more.
  • Know the Law:  Through our WomensLaw project, WomensLaw.org provides multiple stalking-related resources in English and Spanish, including state-specific information on protection orders, Stalking/Cyberstalking, and Safety Tips for Stalking Victims.

NNEDV strives to eradicate all forms of violence – including stalking, dating violence, domestic violence, and sexual assault. Learn more about stalking from the National Center for Victims of Crime, Stalking Resource Center, and join the conversation on social media this month using #NSAM2017.

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[1] National Center for Victims of Crime, Stalking Resource Center, Stalking Statistics and Data, available at https://www.victimsofcrime.org/our-programs/stalking-resource-center/stalking-information/stalking-statistics  

[2] Stalking Resource Center, Stalking Fact Sheet, available at http://www.victimsofcrime.org/docs/src/stalking-fact-sheet_english.pdf

[3] U.S. Department of Justice, Stalking, available at http://www.justice.gov/ovw/stalking

[4] NNEDV Domestic Violence Counts 2015 http://nnedv.org/downloads/Census/DVCounts2015/DVCounts15_NatlReport.compressed.pdf

[5] National Center for Victims of Crime, Stalking Resource Center, Responding to Stalking: A Guide for Prosecutors, available at http://www.victimsofcrime.org/docs/default-source/src/stalking_prosecutorguide_hi.pdf?sfvrsn=0