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CHICAGO (CBS) — Each year, 3.4 million people are stalking victims.
As WBBM Newsradio’s Lisa Fielding reports, January is National Stalking Awareness Month, and the City of Chicago is trying to get the word out.
LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Lisa Fielding reports
“Stalking is an extremely serious form of domestic abuse that can be difficult to identify, and is therefore grossly underreported,” said Jennifer Welch, deputy commissioner, Chicago Department of Family and Support Services Division on Domestic Violence. “National Stalking Awareness Month provides us with an excellent opportunity to talk about stalking, understand how to recognize stalking and learn where to get help.”
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.
“I know women who get 40-50 texts a day from their ex-husband or ex-spouse,” Welch said.
Unlike other crimes, stalking is not a single, easily identifiable crime, but a series of acts directed at a specific person that would cause that person fear or emotional distress. Stalking may take many forms, such as assaults, threats, vandalism, burglary, or animal abuse, as well as unwanted calls, texts, cards, gifts, or visits.
Stalkers fit no standard psychological profile, and many stalkers follow their victims from one jurisdiction to another, making it difficult for authorities to investigate and prosecute their crimes.
Individuals interested in more information about stalking, or those in need of non-emergency domestic violence assistance, can call the City of Chicago Domestic Violence Help Line at 1-877-TO-END-DV (1-877-863-6338 and TTY 1-877-863-6339).