According to the National Center for Victims of Crime, 6.6 million people are stalked each year in the United States. Stalking is a serious, often violent crime that can escalate over time. It is defined as a pattern of behavior characterized by actions designed to make someone feel afraid or in danger. 1 in 6 women and 1 in 19 men have experienced various forms of stalking victimization in which they felt fearful for their own safety or believed that their life or the life of someone close to them was being threatened. Context is very important because the perpetrator can threaten someone without using specifically threatening words or use non-criminal acts such as sending gifts to perpetuate the stalking behavior.
Things you can do if you are being stalked (when you determine it is safe to do so):
- If you are in immediate danger, call 911.
- Contact the police. All 50 states have stalking laws.
- Call the CWS Crisis line (503) 654-2288 or domestic and sexual violence resource centers.
- Tell supportive family, friend, roommates, and co-workers about the stalking behavior.
- Tell security staff at your job or school.
- Contact a legal advocate to learn about how to get a court order.
Things you can do to if someone you know is being stalked:
- Listen and show support.
- Avoid victim blaming.
- Remember that every situation is different.
- Educate yourself, and learn how to ensure your own safety.
For more information, please visit the Stalking Resource Center. www.victimsofcrime.org/our-programs/stalking-resource-center
Stalking Awareness www.stalkingawarenessmonth.org/awareness
National Stalking Helpline 808-802-0300 or www.stalkinghelpline.org
The National Center for Victims of Crime Violence Against Women Online www.vaw.umn.edu/
Department of Justice Office of Violence Against Women About Stalking (pdf) www.ovw.usdoj.gov/aboutstalking.htm