January is National Stalking Awareness Month

3.4 million people over the age of 18 are stalked each year in the United States. Hubbard House, the domestic violence center serving Duval and Baker counties, wants people to understand that stalking is a dangerous crime.

The Stalking Resource Center, National Center for Victims of Crime, and the Office on Violence Against Women, U.S. Department of Justice, knows that if we understand the facts we can do more to stop stalking which is why they launched National Stalking Awareness Month (NSAM) in January 2004.

NSAM enables communities across the country to focus on stalking – holding events, sharing information, and building awareness about the crime. Stalking is defined by the National Center for Victims of Crime as a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to feel fear.

With the advances in technology, cyberstalking has become more common than ever. It shares many characteristics with real-life stalking, as its purpose is to cause fear in a specified individual. Cyberstalkers may use information acquired online to further intimidate, harass, and threaten their victim via courier mail, phone calls, and physically appearing at a residence or work place.

Did You Know?

  • 46% of stalking victims fear not knowing what will happen next
  • 78% of stalkers use more than one means of approach
  • 1 in 4 victims reported being stalked through some technological means (such as e-mail or instant messaging)
  • 30% of stalking victims are stalked by a current or former intimate partner
  • Women are three times more likely to be stalked than men
  • Persons aged 18-24 years experience the highest rate of stalking

Things Stalkers Will Do:

  • Send unwanted gifts, letters, cards, or e-mails
  • Repeatedly call you, including hang-ups
  • Follow you and show up wherever you are
  • Threaten to hurt you, your family, friends, or pets
  •  Other actions that control, track, or frighten you

Stalking is unpredictable and dangerous. No two situations are ever the same. Stalking laws have been put in place in all 50 states but less than 1/3 of states classify stalking as a felony upon first offense.

Information and statistics from National Center for Victims of Crime, www.ncvc.org.

If you or someone you know is being stalked, please call 1 (800) FYI-CALL (394-2255) or visit www.ncvc.org/src for more information.

If you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship please call the Hubbard House hotline at (904) 354-3114 or (800) 500-1119. Hubbard House can help.

To find out more about National Stalking Awareness Month and stalking statistics visit www.stalkingawarenessmonth.org.

ABOUT HUBBARD HOUSE: Founded as the first domestic violence shelter in Florida in 1976, Hubbard House is a certified, comprehensive domestic violence center providing programs and services to more than 6,000 women, children, and men annually in Duval and Baker counties. While Hubbard House is most known for its emergency shelter, the agency also provides extensive adult and youth outreach services, school-based education, therapeutic childcare, batterers’ intervention programs, court advocacy and volunteer and community education opportunities. Visit www.hubbardhouse.org to learn more.

By Katherine Swanson

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