January is Stalking Awareness Month across the country. According to a fact sheet from the Stalking Resource Center, 6.6 million people are stalked in one year in the United States and 11% of stalking victims have been stalked for 5 years or more. Director of Victim Services for the Gillette Police Department, Brandy Matteson, says stalking is a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to feel fear. Matteson says that local law enforcement works with stalking victims regularly and also works closely with the Gillette Abuse Refuge Foundation.
"The Victims Services Unit serves all victims of crime so stalking is one thing we deal with, so we have services we can provide to victims of stalking."---Matteson
Matteson said those services are confidential and don't necessarily have to be reported to law enforcement. They are able to do protection orders without the involvement of law enforcement but the option to file a complaint with police is always available. Matteson says stalking is more prevalent than many people are aware of and it can affect anyone. Matteson points to statistics from the Stalking Resource Center that show 1 in 6 women and 1 in 19 men have been stalked at some point in their lifetime.
For more information on Stalking Awareness Month visit: http://www.stalkingawarenessmonth.org/about
For more information on the Gillette Police Department's Victim Services Department call: