WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Chuck Grassley (R-IA) introduced a resolution designating January as National Stalking Awareness Month to raise awareness on the dangers of stalking. The resolution is cosponsored by every woman senator on the Judiciary Committee—Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Joni Ernst (R-IA), and Marsha Blackburn (R-TN)—as well as Senators Thom Tillis (R-NC) and Mike Crapo (R-ID). Representatives Stephanie Murphy (D-FL) and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA) introduced a companion resolution in the House of Representatives. The resolution complements efforts by the Stalking Prevention, Awareness, and Resource Center (SPARC) to bring attention to Stalking Awareness Month.
Approximately 1 in 6 women in the U.S. have experienced stalking victimization at some point in their lifetimes. Klobuchar is the author of the Protecting Domestic Violence and Stalking Victims Act, legislation that would, among other things, prevent convicted stalkers from buying or owning a gun—a commonsense update to federal law that many states have already adopted. A provision based on that bill was included last Congress in the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act, which passed the House in April 2019 with bipartisan support.
“As a former prosecutor, I have seen firsthand the serious emotional and physical toll stalking can take on victims, a threat that has been exacerbated by the pandemic,” Klobuchar said. “Our bipartisan resolution will raise awareness about the dangers of stalking, the need to ensure that victims are protected, and the resources available to help survivors to get their lives back on track.”
Klobuchar is a national leader in the fight to prevent domestic violence. She is a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and prior to her time in the Senate, she served as Hennepin County Attorney. Last week, Klobuchar and Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) reintroduced the Abby Honold Act—legislation inspired by Abby Honold, a former student of the University of Minnesota and rape survivor, who has worked to promote the use of trauma-informed techniques by law enforcement when responding to sexual assault crimes. Representatives Tom Emmer (R-MN) and Annie Kuster (D-NH) also reintroduced bipartisan companion legislation in the House of Representatives.
Klobuchar has been a leader in securing support for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault during the pandemic.
In March, Klobuchar, Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), and Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) led their colleagues in a letter expressing concern for the wellbeing of families who face an increased risk of domestic violence during the outbreak of the coronavirus and urging the Administration to ensure service providers have the flexibility and resources to help victims of domestic violence.
In April, Klobuchar, Murkowski, and Casey led a bipartisan group of 38 colleagues requesting that any future legislation to address the pandemic includes support for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. The senators expressed concern that service providers are reporting that abusers are using the pandemic to isolate their victims, withhold financial resources, and refuse medical aid; rape crisis centers are seeing increased need for services; and many local law enforcement agencies are receiving an increased number of domestic violence-related calls.
In May, Klobuchar announced that organizations in Minnesota would receive more than $600,000 for temporary housing, counseling, and other supportive services to victims of family, domestic, and dating violence in response to the pandemic. She also announced investments of $1,500,000 for the National Domestic Violence Hotline and $500,000 for the StrongHearts Native Helpline located in Eagan, Minnesota.
The full text of the resolution can be found HERE and below:
Raising awareness and encouraging the prevention of stalking by designating January 2021 as “National Stalking Awareness Month”.
Whereas approximately 1 in 6 women in the United States, at some point during their lifetimes, have experienced stalking victimization, during which the women felt very fearful or believed that they or someone close to them would be harmed or killed;
Whereas it is estimated that each year between 6,000,000 and 7,500,000 individuals in the United States report that they have been victims of stalking;
Whereas more than 85 percent of victims of stalking reported that they had been stalked by someone they knew;
Whereas nearly 70 percent of intimate partner stalking victims were threatened with physical harm by stalkers;
Whereas 11 percent of victims of stalking reported having been stalked for more than 5 years;
Whereas two-thirds of stalkers pursue their victims at least once a week;
Whereas many victims of stalking are forced to take drastic measures to protect themselves, including relocating, changing jobs, or obtaining protection orders;
Whereas the prevalence of anxiety, insomnia, social dysfunction, and severe depression is much higher among victims of stalking than the general population;
Whereas many victims of stalking do not report stalking to the police or contact a victim service provider, shelter, or hotline;
Whereas stalking is a crime under Federal law and the laws of all 50 States, the District of Columbia, and the territories of the United States;
Whereas stalking affects victims of every race, age, culture, gender, sexual orientation, physical and mental ability, and economic status;
Whereas national organizations, local victim service organizations, campuses, prosecutor’s offices, and police departments stand ready to assist victims of stalking and are working diligently to develop effective and innovative responses to stalking, including online stalking;
Whereas there is a need to improve the response of the criminal justice system to stalking through more aggressive investigation and prosecution;
Whereas there is a need for an increase in the availability of victim services across the United States, and the services must include programs tailored to meet the needs of victims of stalking;
Whereas individuals 18 to 24 years old experience the highest rates of stalking victimization, and a majority of stalking victims report their victimization first occurred before the age of 25;
Whereas up to 75 percent of women in college who experience behavior relating to stalking experience other forms of victimization, including sexual or physical victimization;
Whereas there is a need for an effective response to stalking on each campus;
Whereas the COVID–19 pandemic has heightened the risk of online stalking and harassment, particularly among school-aged individuals;
Whereas victim service organizations and law enforcement entities have swiftly adapted to the COVID–19 pandemic in order to continue to serve victims of stalking; and
Whereas the Senate finds that “National Stalking Awareness Month” provides an opportunity to educate the people of the United States about stalking: Now, therefore, be it
Resolved, That the Senate—
- designates January 2021 as “National Stalking Awareness Month”;
- applauds the efforts of service providers for victims of stalking, police, prosecutors, national and community organizations, campuses, and private sector supporters to promote awareness of stalking;
- encourages policymakers, criminal justice officials, victim service and human service agencies, institutions of higher education, and nonprofit organizations to increase awareness of stalking and continue to support the availability of services for victims of stalking; and
- urges national and community organizations, businesses in the private sector, and the media to promote awareness of the crime of stalking through “National Stalking Awareness Month”.