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JANUARY IS NATIONAL STALKING AWARENESS MONTH
 

National Stalking Awareness Month in January was launched in 2004 by the National Center for Victims of Crime. The aim was to increase the public’s interpretation of the crime of stalking. Stalking is a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to feel fear. Unlike other crimes that involve a single incident, stalking is a pattern of behavior. It is often made up of individual acts that could, by themselves, seem harmless or noncriminal, but when taken in the context of a stalking situation, could constitute criminal acts. Stalking is a crime under the laws of all 50 states, the District of Columbia, the U.S. Territories, and the Federal government. Stalking is serious, often violent, and can escalate over time.

 

WHAT CAN YOU DO?

  • Call 911 for Immediate Assistance: You know yourself and your situation better than anyone. Trust your instincts and call for help if you feel you are in danger.

  • Alert Others: Tell trusted friends, family, neighbors, coworkers, and/or your HR department to keep an eye out for suspicious activity and so they don’t mistakenly give out information to someone pretending to be a loved one.

  • Connect with an Advocate: Advocates can often be found at local domestic violence and/or sexual assault agencies, police departments, and district attorney’s offices. Advocates can help explain local stalking laws, walk you through filing a protective order, connect you with local services, and help you develop a safety plan.

  • Document Every Incident: Make a log of encounters with the stalker, hang-up calls, and public sightings. Save all messages, emails, and your call history.

  • End All Contact/Block Stalker From Your Social Media: Sometimes this is easier said than done, but try not to answer calls or messages, even if you are requesting that the stalker stop. Any contact may encourage the stalker to continue the stalking behavior.

  • Take Threats Seriously: A direct threat against you is an obvious sign of danger. A stalker can also use threats of suicide or self-harm to manipulate you into staying in contact or a dangerous situation.

  • Create a Safety Plan: Develop a personalized plan to keep yourself safe. You can connect with an advocate for assistance.

  • Prepare Your Children: Teach your children what to do if there is an emergency, like where to hide if there is danger in the house, or how to call the police or a trusted person for help.

 

INTERESTING FACTS ABOUT STALKING

  1. Around six to 7.5 million people are stalked per year in the United States.

   2.Only 25% of the victims were stalked by strangers.

   3.Young people are most at risk. 50% of victims said they were stalked before the age of 25.

   4.Nearly one in six women and one in 17 men are victims of stalking at least once in their life.

   5.Stalkers harm victims with weapons in one out of five cases.

   6.Yellow is the official stalking awareness color.

If you or someone you know is the victim of stalking, please contact an advocate at Hands of Hope Resource Center by calling 320-732-2319 (Long Prairie office), 320-632-1657 (Little Falls office) or the 24/7 hotline 800-682-4547.

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