Stalking engenders fear and emotional distress in those who are targeted. Whether perpetrated by a stranger, an acquaintance, or a current or former intimate partner, stalking all too frequently ends in tragedy. Although the individual acts of the offender are often minimized by the victim and first responders, stalking behavior is a recognized lethality factor, increasing the risk of homicide for both current and former intimate partners who are victimized.
An estimated 7.5 million individuals experience stalking per year. Many of these crimes go undetected, unreported, or uncharged because victims and first responders fail to recognize the conduct for what it is or because criminal justice professionals lack the specialized knowledge and tools required to secure the necessary evidence, particularly in cases where offenders use technology to stalk. Increased awareness, more effective interventions, and improved coordination between law enforcement, victim advocates, prosecutors, and other allied professionals will raise community consciousness, increase reporting, hold more offenders accountable, and keep victims and communities safe.
Founded in 2017, the Stalking Prevention, Awareness, and Resource Center (SPARC) is funded by the U.S. Department of Justice, Office on Violence Against Women (OVW) to at ensure first responders and other allied professionals have the specialized knowledge required to identify and effectively respond to the crime of stalking.
By providing specialized training, technical assistance, and resources, as well as promoting awareness-raising activities, SPARC works with allied professionals to enhance their ability to keep victims safe and hold offenders accountable. SPARC staff develop and distribute resources on stalking, with a special focus on Stalking Awareness Month in January.
For additional information or to request training or technical assistance from SPARC, visit stalkingawareness.org.