SARC is working to raise awareness of the seriousness of stalking during National Stalking Awareness Month. Here are the details they sent along:
January Is National Stalking Awareness Month
SARC Launches Stalking Awareness in Harford County
Bel Air, MD—January is National Stalking Awareness Month, a time to focus on a crime that affects 3.4 million victims a year, according to the U.S. Department of Justice. This year’s theme—“Stalking: Know It. Name It. Stop It.”— challenges the nation to fight this dangerous crime by learning more about it.
Stalking is a crime in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, yet many victims and criminal justice professionals underestimate its seriousness and impact. The U.S. Department of Justice states that in one of five cases, stalkers use weapons to harm or threaten victims and according to world renown domestic violence researcher, Jacquelyn C. Campbell, stalking is one of the significant risk factors for the homicide of women in abusive relationships. Dr. Campbell has also found that victims suffer anxiety, social dysfunction, and severe depression at much higher rates than the general population, and many lose time from work or have to move as a result of their victimization.
Stalking is difficult to recognize, investigate, and prosecute. Unlike other crimes, stalking is not a single, easily identifiable crime but a series of acts, a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause that person fear. Stalking may take many forms, such as assaults, threats, vandalism, burglary, or animal abuse, as well as unwanted cards, calls, gifts, or visits. The U.S. Department of Justice has also found that one in four victims reports that the stalker uses technology, such as computers, global positioning system devices, or hidden cameras, to track the victim’s daily activities. 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.
Communities that understand stalking, however, can support victims and combat the crime. “If more people learn to recognize stalking,” said Brittany Anthony, SARC’s Community Outreach Coordinator, “we can start creating communities that can support victims, hold perpetrators accountable and prevent these crimes from happening to others.” You can learn more about National Stalking Awareness Month by following SARC’s Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/SARCharfordcounty. If you or someone you know is/has been a victim of stalking, please contact SARC’s 24 hour Helpline at 410-836-8430.