Monday, January 05, 2009

January is National Stalking Awareness Month

This month (January 2009) marks the 6th observance of National Stalking Awareness Month (NSAM) in the United States.

Did you know that each year, more than one million women and nearly 400,000 men in the United States are victims of stalking?

This year the theme is “Stalking: Know It. Name It. Stop It.” It challenges communities (including workplaces) to combat this dangerous crime by learning more about it and taking action.

The Stalking Resource Center and the Office on Violence Against Women has launched the 2009 National Stalking Awareness Month Web site at http://stalkingawarenessmonth.org. The site offers fact sheets, media tools, brochures, posters and artwork, and much more. Check it out!

People do not always realize what "stalking" entails - your "stalker" is usually someone you know, and very often when a person is stalked at work, that indicates a "ramp up" in potential lethality.

Do not "brush off" stalking. Take it seriously. . .whether it is in person or electronic. Keep records. Don't throw things away. Often when I discuss this with people, they have not considered keeping the emails, or voice mails, or notes from the stalker as a record and they should. Do not feel silly about talking with law enforcement about this. . .and if you feel that police are brushing you off, talk to your state's attorney or district attorney. Stalking is serious business, and laws have changed considerably across the US to protect victims.

And if you are an employer, do not take "workplace stalking" lightly. A person being followed and called at work is a person in potential danger. And so is the rest of your workplace. Seek assistance. And http://stalkingawarenessmonth.org is a great place to start.

3 comments:

Sean said...

Nice entry Kim.
I'd never stopped to think of stalking at work, but it makes sense that it must happen. It's scary what some people are capable of doing. Human Resource departments everywhere must have to deal with some truly bizarre and frightening circumstances. This makes me wonder just how geared up HR departments are to deal with this. hmmmmm

Kim Wells said...

Thanks for your comment, Sean. Some HR departments are geared up to deal with this and some are not. . it depends on how aware and educated they are on the issue. First step is recognizing that stalking is an issue that can impact your workplace at all, and often goes hand-in-hand with domestic violence for employees that are leaving or have left an abusive relationship.

Responding means working with a multi-disciplinary team in your workplace including HR, security, legal, management, EAP, and others (internal and external) who can create a plan to ensure the entire workforce and the stalked employee are safe. This may involve local law enforcement, local subject matter experts in the area of stalking/domestic violence, etc.

There is more information on what companies can do to proactively and with enlightened self-interest address these issues on the Corporate Alliance to End Partner Violence website at www.caepv.org.

Thanks again for your thoughtful comments!

Alexis Moore said...

Stalking in the workplace is a very important issue in particular for women. A decision on Dawn V.Martin’s case will be made public by the Supreme Court soon.

We need to voice our support everywhere we can – on the internet, to members of Congress, to women’s organizations, the U.S. Solicitor General at the Justice Department, the Attorney General, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and our federal and local civil rights Commissions and organizations.

We also need to fight for federal legislation that will expressly prohibit employers from discriminating or retaliating against stalking victims. A model for this type of legislation is New York City Human Rights Law, Section 8-107.1(2), which specifically states:

“It shall be an unlawful discriminatory practice for an employer… to refuse to hire or employer or to bar or to discharge from employment, or to discriminate against an individual in the compensation or other terms, conditions, or privileges or employment because of the actual or perceived status of said individual as a victim of domestic violence, or as a victim of a sex offenses or stalking.”
We need to let the Supreme Court and Congress know that this issue is one of great national importance. No woman should have to choose between her job and her safety. It is not just about Dawn Martin – it is about all of us!

For more information you can visit Attorney Dawn V. Martins web site at http://www.DVMartinlaw.com or my blog,http://www.AlexisAMoore.blogspot.com

Women should not have to live or work in fear!

Thanks for keeping the issue of stlaking in the workplace a priority Kim!