The National Center For Victims of Crime has named January 2013 as National Stalking Awareness Month.
Stalking is a crime in New York, and both sexes are victims. “Know it. Name it. Stop it” is the theme for January's Stalking Awareness Month.
Barbara Palmateer is Program Director of Family, Community and Victim Services for Community Action Agency of Greene County’s Columbia-Greene Domestic Violence Program. She notes that victims suffer anxiety, social dysfunction, and severe depression at much higher rates than the general population, and many lose time from work or have to move as a result of their victimization.
Palmateer encourages anyone who feels they are being stalked to reach out to supportive services before it escalates to something more serious.
Christin Guilder, the Prevention Educator for Albany County Crime Victims and Sexual Violence Center, warns younger people about sharing too much information on the internet.
Stalkers fit no standard psychological profile, and many stalkers follow their victims from one jurisdiction to another, making it difficult for police to investigate and prosecute their crimes. Julianne Baumann is program director for the Mental Health Association of Columbia and Greene Counties' "REACH Center" - she offers stalking victims this advice: "The laws enacted in 1999 come from the perspective of the victim. Anyone experiencing any kind of fear or discomfort... by someone else's unwanted communication... should really consider themselves a possible victim of stalking... it's very important to contact people who can be helpful to you."
The advocates agree that if you feel you are being stalked, you should keep any physical or digital evidence that can be shown to authorities: save cards, notes, gifts, emails and text messages - take a screenshot of your Facebook page if a perceived stalker leaves a questionable comment or other message.
The National Stalking Resource Center reports that one in six women, and one in 19 men, have been a stalking victim at some point in their lives—and that stalking is linked to missed work time, anxiety and depression.
For more information and resources, visit http://stalkingawarenessmonth.org/
Learn more: In New York State, there are four degrees of law to combat stalking. While third and fourth degree stalking are a class A and B misdemeanor, stalking in the first and second degree are class D and E felonies. If you are a victim of stalking by an intimate partner, contact your local Domestic Violence (DV) Program. In Albany County, that is Equinox Inc and (518) 434-6135 or Albany County Crime Victims and Sexual Violence Center (518) 447-7100.
Access the Reach Center’s services online or by calling either of their 24 hour hotlines at (518) 828-5556 or (518) 943-4482. MHACGC is affiliated with National Mental Health America, Mental Health Association of New York State, Inc. and United Way of Columbia-Greene Counties.
For more about the Columbia-Greene Domestic Violence Program call (518) 943-9211 or (518) 828-0849.