January Is National Stalking Awareness Month

Madison—January is National Stalking Awareness Month. With stalking playing a part in recent high-profile domestic violence homicides in Wisconsin, domestic violence advocates here say there is urgency to raising awareness about this dangerous behavior.

Among other recent domestic violence homicides in the state, the perpetrator of the shooting at a suburban Milwaukee salon and the husband of slain Wauwatosa police officer Jennifer Sebina stalked their victims immediately before the killings. The fact stalking was an element of these tragedies is not unusual. In one in five cases, stalkers use weapons to harm or threaten victims.[1] And, researchers have found stalking is associated with significantly higher risk of homicide for women in abusive relationships.[2]

“Stalking is a very serious tactic abusers use to control, intimate and terrorize their victims,” said Patti Seger, executive director of the Wisconsin Coalition Against Domestic Violence (WCADV). “We need to ensure law enforcement, prosecutors, community members, victims and potential victims recognize stalking and understand the danger.”

Stalking is difficult to recognize, investigate, and prosecute. Unlike other crimes, stalking is not a single, easily identifiable crime but a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause that person fear. Stalking may take many forms, such as assaults, threats, vandalism, burglary, or animal abuse, as well as unwanted cards, calls, gifts, or visits. One in four victims reports that the stalker uses technology, such as computers, global positioning system devices, or hidden cameras, to track the victim’s daily activities.[3] Annually, about six million Americans are stalked.

“If more people learn to recognize stalking,” said Seger, “we have a better chance to protect victims and save lives. Estimates suggest approximately 300,000 Wisconsin women have been stalked in their lifetimes. We have not fully grasped the extent of the problem nor have we dedicated enough resources to stopping this crime and keeping victims safe. Hopefully Stalking Awareness Month and the increased attention being paid to the connection between domestic violence and stalking will help us make progress.”

“I encourage anyone who is concerned about stalking behavior to call a local domestic violence victim service provider, the National Domestic Violence Hotline or visit website of the Stalking Resource Center,” concluded Seger.

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[1] Katrina Baum et al., “Stalking Victimization in the United States,” (Washington, DC: Bureau of Justice Statistics, 2009).

[2] Jacquelyn C. Campbell et al., “Risk Factors for Femicide in Abusive Relationships: Results from a Multi-site Case Control Study,” American Journal of Public Health 93 (2003): 7.

[3] Baum, Stalking Victimization in the United States.

Selected Resources

Voting Guide for Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Victim Advocates

This guide is meant to help advocates assist their clients with the voting process. With the passage of the Wisconsin photo ID voting law, there is a lot of confusion about who can vote and how they can vote.  The guide explains how survivors can register to vote and ensure they have the proper documentation to vote.   In this volatile political climate and budgetary climate, we need survivors’ voices and participation at the ballot box now more than ever.   

Hope. Vision. Future. A Plan for Providing Services to Domestic Violence Victims in Wisconsin

The Wisconsin Coalition Against Domestic Violence and the Governor’s Council on Domestic Abuse has created a long-range plan for serving Domestic Abuse victims. This document includes an overview of Wisconsin Domestic Abuse Programs, including statistics, services, populations served, and a financial picture. Recommendations address the issues of Economic Justice, Financial Self- Sufficiency, Housing, Legal assistance and Primary Prevention.

2011-2012 Legislative Agenda
WCADV and WCASA Milwaukee Sick Pay Brief

Domestic and sexual violence take a tremendous toll on public health and safety in Milwaukee. This brief, filed by WCADV and WCASA, supports the Milwaukee Paid Sick Days Ordinance which permits victims paid leave to obtain services from these organizations.

2013-2014 Legislative Agenda
Changes to Wisconsin Unemployment Insurance for DV Victims - Dec 2009

WCADV Policy Development Coordinator, Tony Gibart, offers the following summary of how Wisconsin unemployment statutes have changed in response to The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA).

DCF Brochure about Domestic Violence and W-2

This brochure from the Department of Children and Families explains some of the resources and protections available to W-2 participants who are or were victims of domestic violence.  It is to be given to all W-2 applicants and participants. Hmong and Spanish versions are also available. 

Fact Sheets Related to Brookfield Shooting

These two fact sheets cover topics that were implicated by the shootings at a Brookfield, Wisconsin salon on Sunday, October 21, 2012.  They address (1) domestic violence and the workplace and (2) restraining orders and firearm surrender.