OSWEGO, NY- During the month of January, Services to Aid Families, a program of Oswego County Opportunities, Inc., will be recognizing the 7th Annual National Stalking Awareness Month.
SAF is the Domestic Violence and Rape Crisis Program in Oswego County that provides services to those who are victims of stalking.
Stalking is a crime that affects 3.4 million victims a year.
This yearÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s theme, Stalking: Know It. Name It. Stop It,Ã¢â‚¬Â 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.
A brief definition of stalking is a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to feel fear.
In one of five cases, stalkers use weapons to harm or threaten victims, and stalking is one of the significant risk factors for femicide (homicide of women) in abusive relationships.
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, directed at a specific person.
Stalking may take many forms, such as assaults, threats, vandalism, burglary, or animal abuse, as well as unwanted cards, calls, gifts, or visits.
One in four victims report the stalker uses technology, such as computers, global positioning system devices, or hidden cameras, in order to track the victimÃ¢â‚¬â„¢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.
In an effort to raise community awareness and knowledge about stalking SAF will be distributing posters with info regarding stalking throughout Oswego County, offer trainings for local human service workers, and creating a stalking display for the OCO office in Midtown Plaza in Oswego.
For questions, more information, and/or for confidential help, call the Abuse and Assault Hotline at (315) 342-1600, which operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
SAF also accepts charges for collect calls made within Oswego County.
OCO is a private, non-profit agency that has been supporting communities throughout Oswego County since 1966 and touches the lives of more than 20,000 people annually.
It is a United Way of Greater Oswego County member agency and includes seven service divisions Ã¢â‚¬â€œ Senior Services, Transportation, Mental Hygiene, Health, Youth, Services to Aid Families, and ChildrenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s.
For more information, visit www.oco.org