Facts About Stalking

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Stalking does not happen only to celebrities. Each year, an estimated 3.4 million men and women become victims of stalking, and experience violations of their privacy and safety, threats to themselves and to their loved ones, and in the most tragic cases, may be seriously injured or killed by their stalkers. In the United States, all 50 states and the District of Columbia have laws that make stalking illegal.

What is the definition of stalking?

According to the U.S. Department of Justice, stalking is defined as "a pattern of repeated and unwanted attention, harassment, contact, or any other course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to feel fear." Stalking behavior can include

  • Repeated, unwanted, intrusive, and frightening communications, by phone, mail, and/or email
  • Following or laying in wait for a victim at places victims tend to frequently visit, including home, school, or work
  • Making direct or indirect threats to harm the victim or the victim's children and family, friends, pets, and even co-workers
  • Damaging or threatening to damage a victim's property
  • Harassing a victim through the Internet, including email, social networking sites, and other sites

Who are stalking victims?

  • An estimated 3.4 million women and men become stalking victims each year.
  • More than 50% of stalking victims are younger than 30 years old.
  • Women are 3 times more likely to be stalked than to be raped.

Who are the stalkers?

  • Female stalking victims are more likely to be stalked by a male (67%) than a female.
  • Male stalking victims reported that 41% of their stalkers were male, while 43% reported their stalkers were female.
  • In 10% of cases among female stalking victims and 16% of cases among male stalking victims, however, victims were unable to identify their stalker's gender.
  • Only 10% of stalking victims are stalked by a stranger.
  • 3 in 4 stalking victims know their stalkers as either a current or former spouse or partner, roommate, co-worker, family member, or social acquaintance.

What can happen to stalking victims because of stalking?

  • Stalkers have threatened victims (43%), damaged victims' properties (16%), attacked victims (12%), or attacked victims' friends, family, pets, or other acquaintances (9%).
  • One in 7 stalking victims reported that they moved because of stalking.
  • Nearly 29% of stalking victims believe stalking behavior will never stop.
  • 1 in 8 stalking victims reported losing time at work because of stalking incidents.
  • 76% of women killed by their intimate partners were stalked by their partners beforehand.

All stalkers should be considered unpredictable.

Safe Horizon's Anti-Stalking Services

  • Our Anti-Stalking Program counsels more than 3,000 New Yorkers about safety planning and legal remedies each year.
  • Our Anti-Stalking program was the first New York State victim assistance program to focus on the crime of stalking.
  • With state coalitions and local District Attorney's offices, Safe Horizon was instrumental in the passage of anti-stalking legislation that went into effect in New York on December 1, 1999.

How can you find help as a stalking victim?

If you feel your life is in immediate danger, please call 911.

Safe Horizon's Anti-Stalking services can help victims find resources and support. To find out more contact us via our Crime Victims Hotline 866.689.HELP (4357) or by visiting one of our Community Programs.

Learn more facts about stalking


U.S. Department of Justice, Stalking Victimization in the United States, 2009
National Center for Victims of Crime, Stalking Resource Center

Safe Horizon's mission is to provide support, prevent violence and promote justice for victims of crime and abuse, their families and communities.

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