WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Chuck Grassley (R-IA) introduced a resolution designating January 2020 as National Stalking Awareness Month to raise awareness on the dangers of stalking and educate Americans about how to prevent this serious offense. The resolution is cosponsored by every woman senator on the Judiciary Committee—Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Kamala Harris (D-CA), Joni Ernst (R-IA), and Marsha Blackburn (R-TN)—as well as Senators Thom Tillis (R-NC) and Mike Crapo (R-ID).
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 in the 2019 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, and I know that many fear not only for their own lives but also the safety of their loved ones,” 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.”
Representatives Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA) and Stephanie Murphy (D-FL) will introduce a companion resolution in the House of Representatives. The resolution compliments efforts by the Stalking Prevention, Awareness, and Resource Center (SPARC) to bring attention to Stalking Awareness Month.
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, Klobuchar served as Hennepin County Attorney. Last year, Klobuchar and Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) reintroduced the Abby Honold Act—the legislation was inspired by Abby Honold, a former student of the University of Minnesota and rape survivor, who brought this issue to the forefront. Minnesota Congressman Tom Emmer (R-MN) also reintroduced bipartisan companion legislation in the House of Representatives.
In 2018, Klobuchar and Cornyn’s SAFER Act—legislation that reauthorizes, strengthens, and extends the Sexual Assault Forensic Registry program in an effort to help reduce the national rape kit backlog—was signed into law. In 2016, the Klobuchar-backed bipartisan Justice for All Reauthorization Act was signed into law. The law strengthens the rights of crime victims by providing the protection they need to restore their lives and enhances law enforcement’s ability to proactively stop violent criminals. The Justice for All Reauthorization Act also aims to reduce the rape kit backlog by supporting grant programs that fund forensic testing.
The full text of the resolution can be found HERE and below:
Raising awareness and encouraging the prevention of stalking by designating January 2020 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, during a 1-year period, an estimated 7,500,000 individuals in the United States reported that they had been victims of stalking;
Whereas more than 80 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; 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—
(1) designates January 2020 as ‘‘National Stalking Awareness Month’’;
(2) 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;
(3) 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
(4) 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’’.