TOPEKA, KAN. - The Kansas Coalition Against Sexual and Domestic Violence (KCSDV) and 30 sexual and domestic violence advocacy organizations statewide recognize National Stalking Awareness Month in January. Stalking affects 3.4 million victims each year, including thousands of Kansans. KCSDV encourages all Kansans to learn more about stalking and to know how to find resources for victims in their community.
"Stalking has a devastating impact on victims and communities, whether the crime is committed by an intimate partner or a stranger," said Joyce Grover, executive director of KCSDV. In Kansas, 820 incidences of stalking were reported to law enforcement, and 4,756 protection from stalking orders were filed in Kansas courts in 2009. "We know that for every victim who reports to law enforcement or who seeks a protection order, there are countless others who aren’t coming forward. We encourage communities to work together to provide support for victims, to hold offenders accountable and to prevent future tragedies," Grover said.
Although stalking is a serious crime, many underestimate its level of dangerousness. In one out of every five cases nationally, stalkers use weapons to harm or threaten victims. In abusive relationships, stalking is one of the most significant risk factors for femicide (homicide of females). Nationally, in 76 percent of intimate partner femicides, the victims were stalked by their partner prior to their murder. Eighty-nine percent of femicide victims had been both physically assaulted and stalked in the 12 months prior to their murder.
Despite these red flags, 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. Stalking can take many forms, including: following, continuously contacting, abusing pets and vandalizing. The U.S. Department of Justice reports that 46 percent of stalking victims experience at least one unwanted contact per week, and three out of four victims are stalked by someone they know. One in eight employed victims lose time from work, and one in seven victims relocate as a result of being stalked.
KCSDV encourages all Kansans to know the Kansas Crisis Hotline number, 888-END-ABUSE (888-363-2287), and the kcsdv.org website, which includes information about where to find services for survivors in your community.
Contact: Melissa DeDonder
The Kansas Coalition Against Sexual and Domestic Violence (KCSDV) is a private, non-profit organization working to prevent and eliminate sexual and domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking. KCSDV is a coalition of 30 sexual and domestic violence advocacy programs that provide direct services and support for victims statewide. Learn more at kcsdv.org.