TOPEKA, KAN. - The National Center for Victims of Crime has designated January as National Stalking Awareness Month, a time to focus on a crime that affects 3.4 million victims each year. The Kansas Coalition Against Sexual and Domestic Violence encourages everyone to learn the facts and know the resources available for victims in Kansas.
Stalking is a crime in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, yet many underestimate its seriousness and impact. In one out of every five cases nationally, stalkers use weapons to harm or threaten victims, and stalking is considered to be one of the most significant risk factors for female homicides in abusive relationships. Nationally, 76 percent of female homicide victims were stalked prior to their murder.
Despite these risk factors, stalking is often difficult to recognize, investigate and prosecute because unlike other crimes, stalking is a series of acts - a course of conduct that causes fear. It can take many forms, including: following, continuously contacting, harassing and vandalizing. The Office on Violence Against Women of the U.S. Department of Justice reports that 46 percent of stalking victims experience at least one unwanted contact per week. Most victims, three out of four, are stalked by someone they know.
"Whether committed by an intimate partner or a stranger, stalking has a devastating impact on victims and communities," said Sandy Barnett, executive director of the Kansas Coalition Against Sexual and Domestic Violence. "By learning more about stalking, communities can learn how to work together to support victims, how to hold offenders accountable, and how to prevent future tragedies."
Do you know a victim? Stalking victims often experience higher rates of anxiety, social dysfunction, and severe depression, especially if they are being followed or having personal property destroyed. One in eight employed victims loose time from work, and one in seven stalking victims relocate as a result of their victimization.
How can all Kansans be ready to assist victims of stalking? Know the Kansas Crisis Hotline number, (888) END-ABUSE, and the kcsdv.org website, which features a variety of information, including where to find services for victims in your community. For information about the statistics in this press release and more, please visit stalkingawarenessmonth.org.
Contact: Melissa DeDonder
The Kansas Coalition Against Sexual and Domestic Violence (KCSDV) is a private, non-profit organization whose mission is to prevent and eliminate sexual and domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking. The coalition is comprised of 30 statewide sexual and domestic violence advocacy programs providing direct services to victims.