By Ford Porter, NC Office of the Governor
On January 27, 2017, Governor Roy Cooper signed a proclamation declaring January 2017 as “Stalking Awareness Month” in North Carolina. The month of January is also recognized as National Stalking Awareness Month.
The proclamation seeks to encourage public awareness about the harmful and often lethal effects of stalking on its victims.
“Stalking brings fear, uncertainty, and violence into the lives of victims,” Cooper said. “Public awareness is a crucial step forward in protecting women and men from stalking and intimate partner violence.”
According to the National Center for Victims of Crime, an estimated 7.5 million Americans are stalked each year. About 15 percent of women and 6 percent of men have been stalked at some point in their lives, and in many cases, their stalkers were current or former intimate partners.
Stalking affects all parts of victims’ lives, including personal relationships, professional lives, and even places of residence. Stalking victims experience significant stress, miss work, change jobs, relocate, assume new identities, and navigate the legal system in order to feel safe.
Cooper encouraged building partnerships between communities and the criminal justice system to create public policy that better addresses the problem of stalking.
“Staying up to date on the tactics stalkers use to target their victims, including GPS technology and mobile devices, can help law enforcement and victim advocates improve stalking response and prevention,” Cooper said.
Under North Carolina law, stalking is defined as a crime that causes a long-lasting impact on the victim’s quality of life and creates risks to the security and safety of the victim and others, even in the absence of express threats of physical harm. Cyberstalking, including using email, text messaging, cameras, tracking devices, and fleet vehicles, is also illegal under state law.
If you believe that you or someone you know is being stalked, contact the North Carolina Coalition Against Domestic Violence at 1-888-997-9124 or at nccadv.org to learn more about service providers near you.