|1-14-09 Office on Violence Against Women|
January is National Stalking Awareness Month and OVW, in partnership with the National Center for Victims of Crime, launched the 2009 campaign “Know it. Name It. Stop It.” This resource assists our partners in the field integrate stalking awareness into prevention and outreach programs and rigorously confront this crime.
Today the Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics released a supplemental report to the National Crime Victimization Survey focused on Stalking Victimization in the United States. This report is the most comprehensive study of stalking to date and confirms what we in the field have long known—stalking is pervasive, women are at higher risk of being stalked, and there is a dangerous intersection between stalking and more violent crimes.
The study found that during a 12-month period, an estimated 3.4 million people (age 18 or older) were victims of stalking. Surpassing previous estimates of stalking, the study noted persons age 18 to 19 and 20 to 24 experienced the highest rates of stalking victimization.
The study further illustrates a dangerous reality that women are at higher risk of stalking victimization. Females experienced 20 stalking victimizations per 1,000 females age 18 or older. The rate of stalking victimization for males was approximately 7 per 1,000 males age 18 or older.
Seven in 10 victims sought help. Approximately 60% do not report victimization to the police. Most enlisted the help of family or friends while only 7% contacted victim services, a shelter, or helpline.
These findings delineate some clear priorities for all of us, as law enforcement officers, prosecutors, advocates, judges, or friends and colleagues. We must raise awareness that stalking is a violent crime against women. Secondly, in conjunction with our victim-centered approach, we can integrate services to stalking victims in the same way we serve victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. These crimes are interrelated and stalking is often times a result of intimate partner violence.
We encourage you to take advantage of the resources on the National Stalking Awareness Month website, during Stalking Awareness Month and throughout the year. Your communities rely on you to provide information on services available, and we encourage you to include the crime of stalking in your mission statements and implement multidisciplinary responses to stalking. By taking a firm stand against stalking, we are closer to ending violence against women.
Office on Violence Against Women
Posted on 1-14-2009