OSWEGO, NY – According to data provided by the Stalking Resource Center, in one year more than 7.5 million people in the United States were stalked and an estimated 15% of women and 6% of men have been a victim of stalking during their lifetimes.
Stalking is not a single, easily identifiable crime but a series of acts directed at a specific person that would cause that person fear and can include domestic violence, threats, vandalism, burglary, or animal abuse, as well as unwanted cards, calls, gifts or visits.
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.
January is National Stalking Awareness Month.
Oswego County Opportunities’ Services to Aid Families program serves victims and survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence and stalking in Oswego County, working with almost 600 survivors in 2015.
Throughout January SAF and its community partners are raising awareness of the crime of stalking and the increased risks and rates of abuse that under-served populations face.
SAF has cellphone donation bins located at the Oswego Midtown office and the OCO main office in Fulton.
The cellphones are donated to survivors as part of safety planning so that they always have a way to contact law enforcement.
“It takes a coordinated effort from all corners of our community – law enforcement, advocates, community groups, schools, and health care workers – to combat this epidemic,” said SAF Community Response Coordinator Stacie France. “SAF is proud to partner with various local agencies and institutions to bring attention to the crime of stalking and to show victims and survivors that this threat is taken seriously.”
Stalking is classified as a crime in the laws of all 50 states as well as the District of Columbia, U.S. territories, and the federal government. Despite this legal recognition, many victims and communities fail to recognize the severity and real danger of stalking.
“The reality is that the latest statistics regarding stalking are alarming,” said France.
– In 1 out of 5 cases weapons are used to harm or threaten victims.
– Two thirds of stalkers pursue their victims at least once per week, many daily.
– 76% of intimate partner homicide victims have been stalked by their intimate partner.
– 89% of homicide victims who had been physically assaulted had also been stalked in the 12 months before their murder.
“Statistics have also shown that there is a strong correlation between domestic violence and stalking, and when combined, the results are often deadly for the victim,” she said.
The majority of stalking victims are stalked by someone they know:
– 61% of female victims and 44% of male victims are stalked by a current or former intimate partner.
– 25% of female victims and 32% of male victims are stalked by an acquaintance. – Approximately half of all victims of stalking indicated that they were stalked before the age of 25, with many experiencing stalking between the ages of 11 and 17.
“This January, we ask our community to again pledge your unwavering support to those in need and recognize the victim service providers and organizations who work tirelessly to create a coordinated community response to domestic violence and extend hope and healing to victims and survivors every day,” France added.
If you or someone you know is a victim or survivor of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual violence or stalking, please call our Crisis Hotline at (315) 342-1600. The hotline is available 24 hours a day and is free and confidential.
SAF is the domestic violence and rape crisis program for Oswego County and has provided crisis, supportive, advocacy and educational services throughout Oswego County for more than 30 years.
OCO is a private, non-profit agency that has been supporting communities throughout Oswego County since 1966.
A member agency of the United Way of Greater Oswego County, OCO provides more than 50 vital services throughout 100 separate locations.
For more information, visit www.oco.org