What Is Stalking?

What is stalking?

While legal definitions of stalking vary from one jurisdiction to another, a good working definition of stalking is a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to feel fear.

Stalking is serious, often violent, and can escalate over time.
Some things stalkers do:

Follow you and show up wherever you are.
Send unwanted gifts, letters, cards, or e-mails.
Damage your home, car, or other property.
Monitor your phone calls or computer use.
Use technology, like hidden cameras or global positioning systems (GPS), to track where you go.
Drive by or hang out at your home, school, or work.
Threaten to hurt you, your family, friends, or pets.
Find out about you by using public records or online search services, hiring investigators, going through your garbage, or contacting friends, family, neighbors, or co-workers.
Posting information or spreading rumors about you on the Internet, in a public place, or by word of mouth.
Other actions that control, track, or frighten you.

You are not to blame for a stalker’s behavior.
Stalking Victimization

7.5 million people are stalked in one year in the United States.
Over 85% of stalking victims are stalked by someone they know.
61% of female victims and 44% of male victims of stalking are stalked by a current or former intimate partner.
25% of female victims and 32% of male victims of stalking are stalked by an acquaintance.
About 1 in 5 of stalking victims are stalked by a stranger.
Persons aged 18-24 years experience the highest rate of stalking.
11% of stalking victims have been stalked for 5 years or more.
46% of stalking victims experience at least one unwanted contact per week.

[Matthew J. Breiding et al., “Prevalence and Characteristics of Sexual Violence, Stalking, and Intimate Partner Violence Victimization – National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey, United States, 2011”, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, Vol. 63, No. 8 (2014): 7]

[Katrina Baum et al., (2009). “Stalking Victimization in the United States,” (Washington, DC:BJS, 2009).]
If you are being stalked, you may:

Feel fear of what the stalker will do.
Feel vulnerable, unsafe, and not know who to trust.
Feel anxious, irritable, impatient, or on edge.
Feel depressed, hopeless, overwhelmed, tearful, or angry.
Feel stressed, including having trouble concentrating, sleeping, or remembering things.
Have eating problems, such as appetite loss, forgetting to eat, or overeating.
Have flashbacks, disturbing thoughts, feelings, or memories.
Feel confused, frustrated, or isolated because other people don’t understand why you are afraid.

These are common reactions to being stalked.
Impact of Stalking on Victims

46% of stalking victims fear not knowing what will happen next. [Baum et al., (2009). “Stalking Victimization in the United States.” BJS.]
29% of stalking victims fear the stalking will never stop. [Baum et al.]
1 in 8 employed stalking victims lose time from work as a result of their victimization and more than half lose 5 days of work or more. [Baum et al.]
1 in 7 stalking victims move as a result of their victimization. [Baum et al.]
The prevalence of anxiety, insomnia, social dysfunction, and severe depression is much higher among stalking victims than the general population, especially if the stalking involves being followed or having one’s property destroyed. [Eric Blauuw et al. “The Toll of Stalking,” Journal of Interpersonal Violence 17, no. 1(2002):50-63.]

Stalking and Intimate Partner Femicide*

76% of intimate partner femicide victims have been stalked by their intimate partner.
67% had been physically abused by their intimate partner.
89% of femicide victims who had been physically assaulted had also been stalked in the 12 months before their murder.
79% of abused femicide victims reported being stalked during the same period that they were abused.
54% of femicide victims reported stalking to police before they were killed by their stalkers.

*The murder of a woman.

[Judith McFarlane et al., “Stalking and Intimate Partner Femicide,” Homicide Studies 3, no. 4 (1999).]

A stalker can be someone you know well or not at all. Most have dated or been involved with the people they stalk. Most stalking cases involve men stalking women, but men do stalk men, women do stalk women, and women do stalk men.

2/3 of stalkers pursue their victims at least once per week, many daily, using more than one method.
78% of stalkers use more than one means of approach.
Weapons are used to harm or threaten victims in 1 out of 5 cases.
Almost 1/3 of stalkers have stalked before.
Intimate partner stalkers frequently approach their targets, and their behaviors escalate quickly.

[Kris Mohandie et al., “The RECON Typology of Stalking: Reliability and Validity Based upon a Large Sample of North American Stalkers,” Journal of Forensic Sciences 51, no. 1 (2006).]
Stalking Laws

Stalking is a crime under the laws of all 50 states, the District of Columbia, the U.S. Territories, and the Federal government. Click here for a compilation of state, territory, tribal, and federal laws.
Less than 1/3 of states classify stalking as a felony upon first offense.
More than 1/2 of states classify stalking as a felony upon second offense or subsequent offense or when the crime involves aggravating factors.
Aggravating factors may include: possession of a deadly weapon, violation of a court order or condition of probation/parole, victim under 16 years, or same victim as prior occasions.


“The Stalker Files” is coming to Reelz Channel!

“Please tune in to The Stalker Files on the Reelz Channel. Jan. 27 – Madonna; Feb. 3 – David Letterman; Feb. 10 – Gwyneth Paltrow; Feb. 17 – Steven Spielberg; Feb. 24 – Brooke Shields; Feb. 24 – Rebecca Schaeffer; March 3 – Christina Grimmie. Check your local listings for the show times”

About Stalker Files

Take an unnerving dive into the cases of stalkers whose unrelenting obsession with a celebrity led to jarring and sometimes tragic ends. Episodes of this new series include the chilling stalking cases involving Erin Andrews, David Letterman, Gwyneth Paltrow, Michael Douglas, Steven Spielberg, Jodie Foster, Christina Grimmie, Rebecca Schaeffer and Brooke Shields. In the series premiere see the stalker story involving Madonna. Every hour-long episode unfolds with two seemingly separate timelines building to a climax of fear and violence with each story presented through expert interviews, recreations, actual case files and insights from seasoned law enforcement officials.



TOGETHER PROGRAM Announces Openings and New Location: Alexandria!

The TOGETHER Program is a free program to help couples with:

· communication and problem solving
· stress management
· money management
· access to community resources and service
· employment and career needs

TOGETHER is recruiting couples for our Workshops in:

Maryland: Montgomery and Prince George’s counties

Virginia: Fairfax county and Alexandria

We seek couples who are at least 18 years old, speak and understand English, and have lived together for at least 1 year. Gift cards for up to $160 for completion of surveys and $120 more for couples that participate in workshops and an initial meeting. Childcare reimbursement (up to $280) is included for participating and eligible couples when we do not provide child care at workshop locations.

Hear what TOGETHER Participants are saying about the program!

“Overall I have nothing but positive things to say about the program. The information I acquired regarding financial adjustments and debt management have made an impact for me and my family.“

“This program was incredibly rewarding both personally and for my relationships. Facilitators were fantastic and worked very well together. We will continue to deepen the skills learned.”

“I love this program and I would definitely try to take another course if I wanted to or if I had to. It has changed my perspective on marriage and it got me to know my spouse all over again for the first time!!!”

Sign Up Today!


VA TECH Falls Church Location Announces Openings for Therapy/Counseling

No wait for sliding scale therapy sessions at the Falls Church location! Please share!!


Happy New Year!

It’s the start of a brand new year and we here at the Center for Family Services want to keep everyone updated.

For the Spring 2018 semester, our available time slots are as follows:

Monday: 11:00am to 2:00pm
Tuesday: 5:00pm to 8:00pm
Wednesday: 5:00pm to 8:00pm
Thursday: 5:00pm to 8:00pm
Saturday: 9:00am to 12:00pm

As always, we greatly appreciate and encourage any referrals to our center. Because our center does not take insurance and instead works on a sliding fee scale ranging from $15 to $65, we are a great referral source for those with less-than-enough resources.

Our clinic also offers a Family Plan that allows clients to come in for additional therapy under a different modality (i.e. family, couple, or individual) and pay only $10 for that additional service. For example, if an individual begins therapy and pays $30, then decides to start couples therapy at $10 per session, then the total weekly payment would be $40! We strive to be able to provide as many opportunities and resources to those in the community as we can.

Currently, we have no waitlist and therefore welcome any potential individuals, families, or couples to call our center and complete the 10-15 minute intake over the phone. Due to the nature of our program, we give priority to relational cases like families or couples. Our clinic staff can be reached at 703-538-8470. If no one is available to answer your call, the potential client may leave a message with their name and number and our administrative staff will get back to them as soon as possible.

We want to express to everyone how grateful we are for your continued support. Through the recommendations and referrals you make to those in the community, we are able to fulfill our mission to provide affordable and quality mental health services as well as train the next generation of marriage and family therapists.

Thank you so very much!

Center for Family Services
Northern Virginia Center
7054 Haycock Road
Falls Church, VA 22043
(703) 538-8470
Fax: (703) 538-8465