Macomb, Illinois, January 2019 – With an average of 7.5 million people becoming victims of stalking each year in the United States, WIRC-CAA Victim Services staff want to raise awareness of this dangerous crime in our local communities.
Stalking occurs when a person becomes fearful of another person’s repeated, unwanted actions. Stalkers commonly follow their victims to their home and workplace, and repeatedly attempt to make unwanted contact. This unwanted contact can take many forms, including repeated house visits, phone calls, text messages, e-mails, and letters. In some cases, stalking can escalate into violence against the victim and the victim’s family. Many victims report suffering from depression, anxiety, and insomnia due to the emotional and sometimes physical trauma.
Victim Services emphasizes that stalking can happen to anyone, regardless of race, gender, or age. Jill Mann, Sexual Assault Medical and Legal Advocate, and Rachel Odom, Domestic Violence Legal Advocate, have activities planned throughout the month of January in support of Stalking Awareness Month. Mann and Odom will speak about stalking awareness with law enforcement personnel, and plan to unveil an awareness display to help people visualize the impact that stalking has in our community.
The awareness display will showcase paper hands that represent each stalking victim assisted by Victim Services in Hancock, Henderson, McDonough, and Warren counties. Naomi Taylor, Victim Services Director, says she hopes the planned activities will help people to recognize stalking behavior in order to protect victims.
WIRC-CAA Victim Services, based in Macomb, provides free and confidential services in a safe environment with knowledgeable staff members who are ready to provide emergency services, advocacy, counseling, professional training, and public education.
For more information about Victim Services’ programs, visit wirpc.org or call 309-837-6622. If you are a victim of stalking, call the free and confidential 24-hour crisis hotline at 309-837-5555.