Stalking generally refers to harassing or threatening behavior that an individual engages in repeatedly, such as following a person, appearing at a person's home or place of business, making harassing phone calls, leaving written messages or objects, or vandalizing a person's property (Stalking in America: Findings From the National Violence Against Women Survey, National Institute of Justice and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1998).
Although the federal government, all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and U.S. territories have enacted criminal laws to address stalking, the legal definition of stalking varies across jurisdictions. State laws vary in the level of victim fear and emotional distress addressed as well as the requisite intent of the stalker. Some state laws specify that the victim must be frightened by the stalking, whereas others require only that the stalking would cause a reasonable person to experience fear. State laws also vary on what level of fear is required to be considered stalking (Stalking Victims in the United StatesRevised, Bureau of Justice Statistics, 2012).
In recognition of National Stalking Awareness Month in January, NCJRS invites you to view the Stalking Awareness Special Feature, an online compilation of stalking-related publications and resources.