- December 30, 2021
- Posted by: Jeanny Sharp
- Categories: 2021, 2022, All News & Blog Posts, Announcements & Statements, Press Releases
Communities can help combat stalking and increase safety
TOPEKA, KAN. Dec. 30, 2021 – A person who would stalk someone is likely to commit other crimes against the same victim. Stalking, which is recognized in January during Stalking Awareness Month, can intensify over time up to the point of homicide.
The National Center for Victims of Crime began recognizing Stalking Awareness Month in Jan. 2004 with a goal of increasing awareness about the serious crime of stalking and the resources available for stalking victims. Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly signed the 2022 Stalking Awareness Month Proclamation in advance of this national recognition with the reminder that stalking is a crime in Kansas.
People of every gender, gender identity, age, economic status, race, religion, and nationality can be stalked. Stalking is about power and control and is used by the stalker to intimidate or place their victim in fear.
Examples of stalking may include the stalker showing up in places when the victim did not want or expect them to be for the purpose of intimidation; making unwanted phone calls; leaving unwanted messages – email, text, or voice; watching or following from a distance; leaving unwanted gifts; destroying property; writing profanities, threats or insults on the victim’s property; or, spying on the survivor with a listening device, camera or GPS. All these types of stalking behaviors are intended to frighten or intimidate the victim; to let the victim know the stalker knows where they are and what they are doing at any point in time. They are intended to frighten and control.
In Kansas in 2020, stalking offenders were someone known to the victim in 88% of all stalking offenses; and current or former intimate partner suspects were responsible for 58% of all stalking offenses. Even more alarming, one study showed that 81% of those who were stalked by a past, or present intimate partner also experienced physical violence from that partner, making stalking particularly dangerous. Stalking can involve others besides the victims, creating fear not only for the victim but also for their family members.
Technology has made stalking worse for many victims. Victims may not know how their former partner always seems to know where they are – even when they have varied their routine. GPS and other tracking tools have become common ways that stalkers keep victims in their sights.
According to the Kansas Bureau of Investigation’s 2020 Domestic Violence, Stalking and Sexual Assault report (KBI Report), 630 stalking offenses were reported to law enforcement agencies in Kansas. Another 1,601 people sought help from direct service providers for stalking, and 4,201 Protection from Stalking orders were filed with Kansas courts. The KBI Report only shows reported incidents and does not include information from all Kansas law enforcement agencies as some did not submit their numbers for the report. But national numbers support the fact that stalking is prevalent in Kansas. Nationally, 1 in 6 women and 1 in 17 men have experienced stalking.
“Stalking is sometimes wrongly characterized as romantic, sweet, or about love,” said KCSDV Executive Director Joyce Grover. “But, in reality, the stalker feels entitled to control over their victim, seeking to track where they are, where they have been, and who they may be with. Stalking is abusive, dangerous, and disruptive.”
“Friends and family should not be fooled by stalkers as they often co-opt others into sharing personal information about the victim’s whereabouts and habits, allowing the stalker to keep disrupting and tormenting the victim sometimes for years,” said Grover.
Victims can contact the nearest victim advocacy center for free and confidential help with stalking.
Founded in 1982, the purpose of the Kansas Coalition Against Sexual & Domestic Violence (KCSDV) is the prevention and elimination of sexual and domestic violence through a statewide network of programs providing support and safety for all victims of sexual and domestic violence and stalking with a primary focus on women and their children; direct services; public awareness and education; advocacy for victims; comprehensive prevention; and social change efforts. Learn more at https://www.kcsdv.org/.
Last Updated on Dec 30, 2021