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Stalking Victims Suffer In Silence
February 16, 2009

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Karen’s Law Blog
DOJ Report on Stalking
IMAGE SOURCE: Archive, People Magazine cover of Rebecca Schaeffer, May 1989


Stalking More Common Than Reported
Many victims of stalking suffer in silence. According to the first nationwide look at stalking by the Justice Department study, about one in three stalking cases are even reported to authorities. Even with underreporting there were 3.4 million people subjected to stalking, according to researchers.
Whether a celebrity, a spurned lover, or a stranger, stalking happens frequently enough that it is a crime in every state.
Researchers in the DOJ study measured stalking as, making unwanted phone calls, sending unsolicited or unwanted letters of e-mails, following or spying on a victim, showing up at a place where they had no reason to be, leaving unwanted present, waiting at places for a victim and spreading information or rumors on the internet, or in public places.
Researchers find that women are more frequently the focus of stalkers and sometimes it can last for five years of more as it did in 374,000 cases. With all of the frequency, the New York Times reports that a small number of cases ever makes it to court because the cases are difficult to put together.
First there has to be physical evidence. And frequently the victim of the stalker does not even report the incident to authorities believing it is a personal matter or will not be taken seriously. But Mary Lou Leary, of the National Center for Victims of Crime, tells the New York Times that stalking is like domestic violence was perceived more than two decades ago. “Law enforcement is often suspicious or cynical, but is now beginning to deal with stalking as a crime.”
After actress Rebecca Schaeffer was killed by a stalker in 1989, law enforcement began taking the offense seriously. While the first offense is often a misdemeanor, punishments can include a year in jail and ordered counseling.
In 34 states, stalking is a felony especially when accompanied by a threat of violence or possessing a weapon. The Times reports of a case where a man broke into the house of his victim and took a photo of her sleeping. Convicted of stalking he is now spending 13 years in prison.
Karen’s Law, proposed by the victim of credit card fraud, electronic tampering of her computer and bank accounts along with phone threats, is awaiting signature by the Governor of New Jersey.
Steve Lombardi, IB partner from Iowa, reports on cell phone stalking as the newest turn in incidents. #
Originally posted at InjuryBoard by Chrissie Cole
Full post as published by InjuryBoard on February 16, 2009 (boomark / email )


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1 comment:

pinellas said...

Hi...

Stalking is a serious offense which causes a great deal of mental trauma to the victim. The fact that a large number of cases go unreported and giving the stalkers the opportunity to continue the heinous crime. The lack of physical evidence makes it difficult to nab the stalker. But victims need to reach out to attorneys to take action against stalkers.

Lawandy