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January is National Stalking Awareness Month

Friday, January 8, 2021

January is National Stalking Awareness Month, a call to action to recognize and respond to the dangerous and disturbing crime of stalking.

Stalking is often misunderstood and misinterpreted.

The term “stalking” means a pattern of behavior directed toward a person that would cause them to fear for his or her safety and to purposely suffer considerable emotional distress.

According to the National Stalking Awareness and Prevention Organization, an estimated 6 to 7.5 million men and women are stalked each year in the United States with the majority of victims being between 18 and 24 years of age. Most stalking victims personally know or are acquainted with their offender.

Stalkers use different methods to frighten their victim(s). Some of these tactics can include: showing up in places where the victim didn’t expect to see them (home, workplace, restaurant, for example), calling them or sending them text messages or emails (cyberstalking), sending unwanted gifts like flowers or trinkets, watching the victim from a distance or spying on them with a camera or GPS system. An offender who commits the crime of general stalking but also terrorizes or threatens their victim with the intention to fear bodily harm or death is aggravated stalking.

Because stalking is so misunderstood, its circumstances are key. In other words, while receiving a gift or flowers on its own may not be feared or be suspicious behavior, if it becomes repeated and unwanted, then it demonstrates general stalking.

While a victim can not forecast the behavior of their offender, it is important to keep a log of different incidents that may occur when there is contact with the stalker and to save any evidence when possible. Save all emails, text messages, social media postings, photos as evidence for future use if necessary.

Stalking is a crime and punishable in Nevada. If you feel you are a victim of stalking, there are orders of protection against stalking and harassment available to you. Please call the DVI office at (775) 423-1313 or the 24/7 crisis line at (775) 427-1500.

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