Skip to main content
Blog Post

Stalking - A Serious Crime

The following post appears courtesy of Susan B. Carbon, Director of the Office on Violence Against Women January’s observance as national stalking awareness month gives me an opportunity to join with our federal, national, local and individual partners to once again focus on a crime that affects over one million adults in America every year. The statistics reflect, but often do not measure, the toll that this crime takes on the emotional, professional, academic and personal lives of its victims. In fact, stalking is not limited to those over 18 and is experienced by many adolescents and teens. Friends, families and communities are affected by this complex and often dangerous crime, sometimes mischaracterized as harmless or misinterpreted as expressions of concern and even love. Stalking is often hard to recognize. Sometimes, considered as bothersome and intrusive, it is ignored. Technological advances are an added tool used by stalkers to intimidate and control their victims. Many do not report their experiences to law enforcement because it is not immediately recognized as a crime. Some are unaware that it is defined as such in every state. The Office on Violence Against Women (OVW) believes that the motto to “KNOW IT, NAME IT, AND STOP IT” captures the focus of January’s awareness campaign. Emotional responses to stalking include feeling afraid, vulnerable, anxious, depressed, stressed, unsafe and confused. The Stalking Resource Center of the National Center for Victims of Crime —launched in 2000 in partnership with OVW —provides resources to victims and those who respond and support them. The awareness campaigns are a call to action to speak out about the crime, report it and engage others in an ongoing dialogue. Educating ourselves and each other is an important step to encouraging and supporting victims to report the crime and stop the abuse. As President Obama said in his Stalking Awareness Month Proclamation, “Stalking affects too many Americans to remain a hidden crime, and a strong stand is required in order to both support victims and hold perpetrators accountable.” We join with the President and the Attorney General in getting out the word about this serious crime and continuing our commitment throughout this month and the coming year.
Updated April 27, 2017