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Stalking in America: Findings From the National Violence Against Women Survey

NCJ Number
Date Published
19 pages
Publication Series
Data from the National Violence Against Women Survey, a nationally representative telephone survey of 8,000 women and 8,000 men, found stalking to be much more prevalent than previously thought.
Stalking victimization was measured in terms of lifetime prevalence and annual prevalence. Survey findings showed 8 percent of women and 2 percent of men had been stalked at some point in their lives; 90 percent of stalking victims were stalked by just one person during their lives. About 1 percent of all women and 0.4 percent of all men were stalked during the 12 months preceding the survey, equating to an estimated 1,006,970 women and 370,990 men who are stalked annually in the United States. Survey findings also showed 0.13 percent of women experienced a completed or attempted rape during the 12 months preceding the survey, no significant differences were found between white and minority women, and women were the primary victims of stalking and men were the primary perpetrators. Women reported stalkers followed them, spied on them, or stood outside their home or place of employment and also said stalkers made unsolicited telephone calls. Less than half the victims, both male and female, were directly threatened by stalkers. Only 7 percent of the victims said they were stalked because stalkers were mentally ill or used drugs. About 81 percent of women who were stalked by a current or former husband or cohabitating partner were also physically assaulted by the same partner and 31 percent of these women were also sexually assaulted. Stalking was reported to the police by 55 percent of female victims and 48 percent of male victims. Overall, 13 percent of female victims and 9 percent of male victims reported stalkers were criminally prosecuted. Female victims were significantly more likely than male victims to obtain a protective or restraining order against stalkers. The survey produced strong confirmation of the negative mental health impact of stalking. At the time of interview, 92 percent of victims were no longer being stalked. The survey methodology and sample are described, and policy implications of the findings are discussed. 25 notes, 2 tables, and 23 exhibits

Date Published: January 1, 1998