Stalking Statistics

Stalking Laws in the USA

The federal government, all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and U.S. territories have enacted criminal laws to address stalking. The legal definition for stalking varies across jurisdictions.

State laws vary regarding the element of victim fear and emotional distress, as well as the requisite intent of the stalker.

Some state laws specify that the victim must have been frightened by the stalking while others require only that the stalking behavior would have caused a reasonable person to experience fear.

States vary regarding what level of fear is required.

Some state laws require prosecutors to establish fear of death or serious bodily harm, while others require only that prosecutors establish that the victim suffered emotional distress.

Interstate stalking is defined by federal law 18 U.S.C. § 2261A.

Stalking Statistics*

The risk of stalking victimization was highest for individuals who were divorced, separated, or intimate partners: 34 per 1,000 individuals.

Nearly 3 in 4 stalking victims knew their offender in some capacity be they divorced, separated, or intimate partners.

Male (37%) and female (41%) stalking victimizations were equally likely to be reported to the police.

During a 12-month period an estimated 14 in every 1,000 persons age 18 or older were victims of stalking.

About half (46%) of stalking victims experienced at least one unwanted contact per week, and 11% of victims said they had been stalked for 5 years or more.

Women were at greater risk than men for stalking victimization; however, women and men were equally likely to experience harassment.

Approximately 1 in 4 stalking victims reported some form of cyberstalking such as e-mail (83%) or instant messaging (35%).

46% of stalking victims felt fear of not knowing what would happen next.

* Statistics furnished by US Department of Justice Report, 2009

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