Congressman Ted Poe (TX-02) applauds Congress for designating January 2008 as National Stalking Awareness Month. Victims Rights Caucus Co-Chairs Congressman Poe and Congressman Jim Costa (CA-20) sponsored H. Res. 852 to educate Americans on the serious dangers of stalking and to serve as a unifying force for community leaders, policymakers, and victim service providers.
Stalking laws are basic to the individual right to be left alone and the right of privacy, said Poe. As the co-chairman and founder of the Congressional Victims Rights Caucus, and my experience as a prosecutor and a judge, I met with countless victims and victim service providers about the dangers of stalking. Victims often feel that there is no safe place for them to go, no safe place to hide, not even in their homes. Stalking forces victims to relocate, lose their jobs, and cycle into severe depression and anxiety. Some victims live in quiet, desperate lives of fear.I encourage victim service providers, law enforcement, prosecutors, and community leaders to promote awareness of stalking, and I thank them for their efforts in making life better for victims.
According to the National Center for Victims of Crime:
- More than one million women and almost 400,000 men are stalked annually in the United States.
- Eight percent of women and two percent of men in the United States have been stalked in their lifetime.
- One-third of stalkers are repeat stalkers.
- Over 50 percent of stalkers have had a previous relationship with the victim (commonly referred to as intimate partner stalking).
"Stalking is a serious and potentially lethal crime, said Mary Lou Leary, Executive Director of the National Center for Victims of Crime. "We thank Representatives Ted Poe and Jim Costa for championing this National Stalking Awareness Month resolution, which will raise awareness about the impact of stalking on more than 1.4 million Americans each year."
Congressman Poe is the founder and Co-Chair of the Congressional Victims Rights Caucus. As a former criminal court judge and prosecutor for over 30 years in Houston, Texas, Poe is recognized nationally for his creative sentencing of criminals and as a dedicated advocate for victims and children.