January is Stalking Awareness Month

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Did you know that 6.6 million people are stalked in one year in the United States? Statistics show that 1 in 6 women, and 1 in 19 men have experienced stalking victimization at some point during their lifetime (Michele C. Black et al., “The National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey: 2010 Summary Report,” Atlanta, GA: National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2011). This January marks the 10th anniversary of National Stalking Awareness Month, a resolution that was set into motion after Peggy Klinke was murdered by her stalker in California in 2003. Law enforcement agencies can use this month to highlight resources available to stalking victims, become more familiar with their state’s stalking laws, and ensure that stalking offenders are being held accountable in their communities.

The Stalking Resource Center of the National Center for Victims of Crime is a great source of information for law enforcement, advocates, and victims and survivors of stalking. Their website provides stalking fact sheets, interactive quizzes and trainings for law enforcement, victim outreach materials, state-specific legislation information, and numerous other resources.

What are some steps that your department/agency can take to better address stalking in your community?

  • Collaborate with community partners (advocates, prosecutors, medical personnel, etc.) to develop and implement a policy and/or training specifically addressing stalking
  • Implement a risk/lethality assessment tool(s) to use with victims and perpetrators of domestic violence and stalking
  • Ensure all members are trained on the co-occurring nature of violence against women crimes (e.g., when responding to a domestic violence call, inquire about sexual violence and stalking)
  • Reach out to local media to improve their identification and coverage of cases of stalking
  • Establish cross-jurisdictional Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs) or written protocols to clarify roles and responsibilities for investigating stalking (and all violence against women crimes) which cross jurisdictional lines

If you have questions about the IACP’s Violence Against Women efforts, please contact Michael Rizzo, IACP Project Manager, at rizzo@theiacp.org, or visit the IACP’s National Law Enforcement Leadership Initiative on Violence Against Women webpage.

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