Stalking behaviors may include:
- Harassing phone calls: either in frequency, or in the content of the call
- Threats: entering, or threatening to enter a victim’s home when no one is at home; threatening to report the victim to authorities when no crime has occurred; other threats which cause apprehension or fear
- Monitoring the victim’s activities: through GPS devices; by using a victim’s friends, family, neighbors, or co-workers to monitor and report back on the victim’s whereabouts and activities
- Spying on the victim: a subset of monitoring the victim; may include literally hiding and spying, overtly showing up at an event or appointment and keeping watch, or cyberstalking
Stalking has a direct effect on victims mental health, and if not addressed can lead to physical violence. Victims may feel guilt, embarrassment, depression, anxiety, fear and more.
Statistics and Facts1
- 6.6 million people are stalked in one year in the United States.
- 1 in 6 women and 1 in 19 men have experienced stalking victimization at some point during their lifetime in which they felt very fearful or believed that they or someone close to them would be harmed or killed.
- Using a less conservative definition of stalking, which considers any amount of fear (i.e., a little fearful, somewhat fearful, or very fearful), 1 in 4 women and 1 in 13 men reported being a victim of stalking in their lifetime.
- The majority of stalking victims are stalked by someone they know. 66% of female victims and 41% of male victims of stalking are stalked by a current or former intimate partner.
- More than half of female victims and more than 1/3 of male victims of stalking indicated that they were stalked before the age of 25.
- 46% of stalking victims experience at least one unwanted contact per week.
Effects of Stalking on Victims2
- Denial, confusion, self-doubt, questioning if what is happening is unreasonable, wondering if they are over-reacting
- Feeling isolated and helpless to stop the harassment
- Anxiety, panic attacks, agoraphobia
- Difficulty concentrating, attending and remembering things
- Inability to sleep: nightmares, ruminating
- Irritability, anger, homicidal thoughts
- Emotional numbing
- Symptoms of Post-traumatic Stress disorder, e.g., hypervigilance, flashbacks of frightening incidents, easily startled
- Insecurity and inability to trust others, problems with intimacy
- Personality changes due to becoming more suspicious, introverted or aggressive
- Fatigue from difficulty sleeping, being constantly on guard, symptoms of depression
- Effects of chronic stress including headaches, hypertension
- Gastrointestinal problems
- Fluctuations in weight due to not eating or comfort eating
- Development or exacerbation of pre-existing conditions, e.g., asthma, gastric ulcers and psoriasis
- Insecurity and inability to trust others impacting on current and future relationships and friendships
- Problems with physical and emotional intimacy
- Avoidance of usual activities
If you or someone you know is a victim of stalking, there are resources available to help:
- More information on stalking awareness: National Center for Victims of Crime’s Stalking Resource Center
- Get a confidential address and confidentiality for children: Safe at Home, California Secretary of State
The California Victim Compensation Program (CalVCP) is available to assist eligible victims with crime-related expenses. Victims of domestic violence can apply for CalVCP assistance in four ways:
- Contact a local county Victim Witness Assistance Center. A victim advocate at the center can help victims complete and submit an application as well as provide other assistance. Most victim witness centers are part of the county District Attorney’s office. A list of California Victim Witness Assistance Centers can be found on CalVCP's Local Help pages
- Call the CalVCP Help Line at (800) 777-9229
- Download an application from CalVCP's How to Apply page
- E-mail CalVCP at email@example.com
When submitting a completed application, include one or more of the following forms of documentation if you have it available:
- Crime report
- An affidavit from a caseworker
National Stalking Awareness Month Homepage
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