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SAFE Harbor launches community stalking awareness campaign

January is National Stalking Awareness Month

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News from SAFE Harbor

RONAN — January marks the 17th National Stalking Awareness Month, an annual call to action to recognize and respond to this traumatic and dangerous crime. It is critical to raise the issue of stalking as its own form of violence as well as a crime that frequently predicts and co-occurs with physical and sexual assault. Stalking impacts over one in six women and one in 17 men in the United States – yet, despite the prevalence and impacts, many victims, service providers, criminal justice professionals and members of the general public underestimate its danger and urgency.

Stalking is defined as a pattern of behavior directed at a specific person that causes fear. Many stalking victims are followed, approached, monitored, and/or threatened, including through various forms of technology. Victims and survivors often suffer anxiety, social dysfunction and severe depression as a result of their victimization, and many lose time from work and/or relocate. 

Stalking is a terrifying and psychologically harmful crime in its own right, as well as a predictor of potentially lethal violence: one in five stalkers use weapons to threaten or harm victims, and stalking increased the risk of intimate partner homicide by three times.

Stalking is a crime in all 50 states, the U.S. Territories, the District of Columbia, tribal lands and in the military justice system but can be difficult to recognize and prosecute in a system designed to respond to singular incidents rather than the series of acts that constitute stalking.

NSAM’s theme of “Know It. Name It. Stop It.” is a call to action for everyone in Lake County and the Flathead Reservation and across the country. While police and victim-serving professionals are critical, the reality is that the vast majority of victims tell friends or family about the stalking first. Responding with empathy and connecting victims to resources is key.

“We all have a role to play in identifying stalking, intervening when necessary, supporting victims and survivors and understanding the severity of these behaviors when someone reaches out for help,” said DeeAnn Richardson, SAFE Harbor executive director. For more information on resources and services, please call 406-676-0800 or visit www.safeharbormt.org.

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