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Newport News Now is a daily e-newsletter that launched in March 2016. Articles that ran in our newsletter between March 2016 and March 2018 are available on these pages. Newsletters produced beginning in April 2018 can be viewed on our new daily newsletter page.

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Jan 26

January is National Stalking Awareness Month

Posted on January 26, 2018 at 8:09 AM by Communications Department

The majority of stalking victims are stalked by someone they know.

In Virginia, stalking is defined as repeated conduct which places a person, or his or her family, in reasonable fear of death, sexual assault, or bodily injury. The stalkers' actions can be as overt as making repeated threats to harm you or your family or as innocuous as simply showing up in the parking lot of your workplace every day and waiting for you. stalk

Over seven and half million people are stalked in one year in the United States. Stalking is a unique crime, because stalkers are obsessed with controlling their victims’ actions and feelings. Stalkers will frequently threaten and harass, and in many instances, actually physically injure their victims. 

Stalking is a crime that can be committed against anyone, regardless of gender, race, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, or geographic location. Feeling like you are being stalked can have many side-effects including fear of leaving your home, depression, helplessness, and anxiety. The prevalence of anxiety, insomnia, social dysfunction, and severe depression is much higher among stalking victims than the general population, especially if the stalking involves being followed or having one’s property destroyed. 

What to do if you are being stalked: 
  • Call the police if you feel you are in any immediate danger. Explain any action that seems harmless but is causing you fear — like leaving you a gift.
  • Trust your instincts. Victims of stalking often feel pressured by friends or family to downplay the stalker’s behavior, but stalking poses a real threat of harm.
  • Take all threats seriously. 
  • Keep a record or log of each contact with the stalker. Also, document any police reports. 
  • Save all e-mails, text messages, photos, and postings on social networking sites as evidence of the stalking behavior. 
  • Develop a safety plan to include things like changing your regular routine and having someone you know and trust go places with you.
To learn more about stalking, contact the Stalking Resource Center at the National Center for Victims of Crime in Washington, D.C. at 202-467-8700, by email at src@ncvc.org or visit their website.   You can also contact the toll-free Victim Connect Virginia HelpLine at 1-888-887-3418.