Stalking is one of the dangerous elements of abusive relationships. Each year, 1.4 million Americans are stalked, and more than half of the victims are women, according to a U.S. Department of Justice study released in November 1997. Conducted by the Center for Policy Research, the survey of 16,000 adults found a high correlation between stalking and domestic violence. Fifty-nine percent of female stalking victims are stalked by a current or former intimate partner. In 80% of these cases, the victims were physically assaulted by their partner. The survey defined stalking as “repeated visual or physical proximity; nonconsensual communication; verbal, written, or implied threat; or a combination thereof that would cause a reasonable person fear.” The report also found that:
1 in 12, or 8.2 million, women will be stalked in their lifetime.
87% of stalkers are men.
45% of victims report that their stalkers made overt threats.
90% of stalking victims were stalked by only one person. In most cases, stalking lasts for one year or less.
Roughly half of all stalking victims report their stalking to the police. One quarter of stalking cases reported to the police result in an arrest.
28% of female and 10% of male victims obtain protective or restraining orders against their stalkers.
87% of all restraining orders against stalkers are violated.
Nearly one in four victims who reported stalking to the police (24%) said their cases were prosecuted. Slightly more than half of the cases in which criminal charges were filed (54%) resulted in a conviction. Nearly two-thirds (63%) of convictions resulted in jail time for the perpetrator.
The authors of the report, Patricia Tjaden, Ph.D. and Nancy Thoennes, Ph.D., concluded that stalking victims should develop personal safety plans that include relocating as far away from the perpetrator as possible and securing a confidential mailing address.
This article appeared in Speaking Up, published by the Family Violence Prevention Fund.