National Stalking Awareness Month

January is National Stalking Awareness Month, a time to focus on a crime that affects 3.4 million victims a year, and this year’s theme, “Stalking: Know It. Name It. Stop It.” challenges the nation to fight stalking by learning more about it

The National Center for Victims of Crime launched NSAM in January 2004 to increase the public’s understanding of the crime.  Unlike other crimes, stalking is not a single, easily indentifiable crime but a series of acts directed at a specific person that would cause that person fear. 

In one of five cases, stalkers use weapons to harm or threaten victims (Baum, 2009).  Stalking is one of the significant risk factors for femicide in abusive relationships; victims suffer anxiety, social dysfunction, and severe depression at much higher rates than the general population, many lose time from work or have to move as result of their victimization (Campbell, 2003).  It can take many forms such as assaults, threats, vandalism, burglary, or animal abuse, as well as unwanted gifts or visits.  One in four victims reported stalkers use of technology such as computers, global positioning system devices, or hidden cameras to track the victim’s daily activities (Baum, 2009).  Stalkers fit no standard psychological profile, and many stalkers follow their victims from one jurisdiction to another, making it difficult for authorities to investigate and prosecute their crimes. 

The National Center for Victims of Crime promotes awareness and public education about stalking during the annual observance.  When more people learn to recognize stalking, communities have a better chance to protect victims and prevent tragedies.

Stalking Statistics

Stalking Victimization (according to Baum, 2009) 

  • 3.4 million people over the age of 18 are stalked each year in the US 

  • 3 in 4 victims are stalked by someone they know 

  • 30% of victims are stalked by a current or former intimate partner 

  • Persons aged 18-24 experience the highest rate of stalking 

  • 46% of stalking victims fear not knowing what will happen next 

  • 29% of victims fear the stalking will never stop

RECON Study of Stalkers (according to Mohandie, 2006) 

  • 2/3 of stalkers pursue their victims at least once per week, many daily, using more than one method 

  • 78% of stalkers use more than one means of approach 

  • Weapons are used to harm or threaten victims in 1 out of 5 cases

Stalking and Intimate Partner Femicide (according to McFarlane, 1999) 

  • 76% of intimate partner femicide victims have been stalked by their intimate partner 

  • 67% had been physically abused by their intimate partner 

  • 89% of femicide victims reported being stalked during the same period they were abused 

  • 54% of femicide victims reported stalking to police before they were killed by their stalkers.

Baum, K. Catalano, S. Rand, M. & Rose, K. (2009). Stalking victimization in the United States (PDF, 4.3 MB). U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Bureau of Statistics

Campbell, J. C., Webster, D., Koziol-McLain, J., Block, C., Campbell, D., Curry, M. A., Gary, F., Glass, N., McFarlane, J. M., Ulrich, Y., Wilt, S. A., Manganello, J., Xu, X., Schollenberger, J., Frye, V., & Laughon, K. (2003). Risk factors for femicide in abuse relationships: Results from a multi-state case control study. American Journal of Public Health, 93, 1089-1097.

McFarlane, J. M., Campbell, J. C., Wilt, S., Sach, C. J., Ulrich, Y., & Xu, X. (1999). Stalking and intimate partner femicide. Homicide Studies, 3, 300-316. doi: 10.1177/1088767999003004003

Mohandie, K., Meloy, J. R., McGowan, M. G., Williams, J. (2006). The RECON typology of stalking: reliability and validity based upon a large sample of North American stalkers. Journal of Forensic Sciences, 51, 147-55.