Special Feature: Stalking

stalking awareness Stalking is a dangerous, and potentially lethal, crime.

Defined as a series of actions that makes a victim feel afraid or in danger, stalking may include behaviors that by themselves may not be criminal, such as making phone calls, sending letters or gifts, and showing up at public places. But these acts that appear meaningless or non-threatening to many people may be terrifying to victims. Context is critical to understanding stalking.

Victims of stalking experience a wide range of negative effects that include anxiety, insomnia, and depression. Many victims may minimize the stalking behaviors, underestimating the risk the offender poses or they believe that in time the behavior will simply stop.

Stalking can happen to anyone, regardless of gender, race, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, location, or personal associations. The majority of stalking victims are women and most stalkers are men, but men can be victims too.

Research has shown a strong correlation between domestic violence and stalking. More than 80 percent of stalking victims who had been stalked by their current or former intimate partner reported that they had also been physically assaulted by that partner, and 31 percent were also sexually assaulted by that partner. According to the National Crime Victimization Survey, nearly 70 percent of stalking victims knew their offender in some way.

To learn more, select a page from the "Stalking" box for information and resources produced or sponsored by the Office of Justice Programs and other federal agencies.