Boise Police Department
News Release

Michael F. Masterson
Chief of Police


Contact: Lynn Hightower
Communications Director
570-6180

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

January is National Stalking Awareness Month

01-06-10 January is National Stalking Awareness Month

The following comes from a release from the National Center for Victims of Crime:

http://www.stalkingawarenessmonth.org/

    January is National Stalking Awareness Month, a time to focus on a crime that affects 3.4 million victims a year, according to the US Department of Justice. This year's theme - "Stalking: Know It. Name It. Stop It." challenged 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. In one of five cases, according to the US Dept. of Justice, stalkers use weapons to harm or threaten victims. Victims suffer anxiety, social disfunction, 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, according to a study published in 2003 in the American Journal of Public Health.

    Stalking is difficult to recognize, investigate, and prosecute. Unlike other crimes, stalking is not a single, easily identifiable crime but a series of acts, a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause that person fear. 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 reports that the stalker uses technology, such as computers, global positioning system devices, or hidden cameras, to track the victim'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.

The following information comes from Violence Against Women Online Resources, research in brief, August, 2009:

http://vaw.umn.edu/documents/inbriefs/stalking/stalking-color.pdf

Stalking Defined:

    Stalking has been defined in a variety of ways. Most commonly, and conservatively, stalking is defined as "the willful, malicious, and repeated following and harassing"1 of an individual in a course of conduct "that would cause a reasonable person fear." Additionally, stalking involves persistent harassment over time and often more than one type of activity. Examples of stalking behaviors include but are not limited to:

Non-consensual Communication
• Unwanted phone calls
• Postal mail
• Electronic mail (e-mails)
• Text messaging
• Instant messaging (IM)
• Contact through social networking sites
• Sending or leaving gifts or other items

Physical Acts of Stalking
• Following
• Tracking with GPS devices
• Trespassing
• Spying, peeping
• Appearing at one's home, business, or favored social location
• Leaving written messages or objects
• Vandalizing property
• Surveillance
• Harming a pet

What We Know about Stalking:

    Stalking is unlike many other crimes because it involves a series or a pattern of behaviors. Individual events may appear benign, but in the context of the whole are troubling.

    The National Violence Against Women Survey (NVAWS) found that "8 percent of women and 2 percent of men in the United States have been stalked at some time in their life." This amounts to 1 in 12 women and 1 in 45 men in their lifetime who will experience stalking 

    Stalkers themselves are predominantly male. The NVAWS found "94 percent of the stalkers identified by female victims and 60 percent of the stalkers identified by male victims were male," resulting in 87% of stalkers being male.

    According to the U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS), "nearly 3 in 4 of all victims knew their offender in some capacity." The NVAWS found that "59% of female victims, compared with 30% of male victims, were stalked by some type of intimate partner." Additionally, "[81%] of the women who were stalked by a current or former husband or cohabitating partner were also physically assaulted by the same partner."

    It is important to note that while both men and women are victims of stalking, they experience stalking in different ways. Women are more likely than men to report being stalked by an intimate partner, whereas men are more likely to report being stalked by a stranger or
acquaintance. Women are also "13 times as likely as men to report being very afraid of the stalker." Those who were "very afraid" of their stalker were significantly more likely to report poor current health status, to develop a chronic disease, and to become injured. Thus, female
victims are at higher risk for emotional and physical harm resulting from stalking than are male victims.

    There is a positive correlation between stalking and other forms of intimate partner violence. Research shows that those who stalk their partners are four times more likely to physically assault their partners than non-stalkers and six times more likely to sexually assault their partners.

Adverse Effects of Stalking:

    Thirty percent of female victims and 20% percent of male victims have sought psychological counseling as a result of their victimization. Twenty-six percent of victims said their stalking victimization caused them to lose time from work. Of these, 7% were unable to return to work.

    Additionally, "women who were stalked by their partner experienced psychological abuse, physical abuse, sexual abuse and injury at significantly higher rates compared with women who were not stalked by their partners."

Legal Protections and Stalking:

    In Idaho, Stalking is defined in 18-7905 and 18-7906 of the Idaho Criminal Code:

http://www.legislature.idaho.gov/idstat/Title18/T18CH79.htm

    Related crimes may also fall under Idaho telephone Harassment statute:

http://www.legislature.idaho.gov/idstat/Title18/T18CH67SECT18-6710.htm

Cyberstalking:

    For tips to prevent becoming a victim of cyberstalking:

http://womensissues.about.com/od/violenceagainstwomen/a/CyberPrevention.htm

To report Stalking:

    If you feel you're a victim of stalking, telephone harassment, or any other crime, please call 377-6790. If it's an emergency, call 911.

Boise Police Victim-Witness Services:

    The Boise Police Department Victim-Witness Program was developed in 1990 in response to a need for crisis intervention and support services for victims, witnesses and survivors of violent crime. If you feel you've been a victim of stalking, for a reference to additional legal or support services, call 570-6221.

    To learn more about the Boise Police Victim-Witness Services, log onto:

http://www.cityofboise.org/Departments/Police/CriminalInvestigationDivision/VictimWitnessUnit/page5745.aspx .