January 16, 2014

Contact Kathleen Demro ( or 804-249-9470 X 11) for media inquiries.

January has been proclaimed as Stalking Awareness Month. This year marks the 10th anniversary of commemorating this month. It is estimated that up to 6.6 million people are stalked in one year (click here for reference). Stalking is a serious issue that creates significant distress for its victims.

Stalking is commonly defined as “a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to feel fear” (click here for reference). It is of particular importance for those who experience intimate partner violence as it is the most common form of stalking and often the most lethal (click here for reference). Many women who are murdered by current or former intimate partners also reported stalking behaviors.

Stalking behaviors vary significantly but can include:

  • physical surveillance — following, spying, watching, showing up at places
  • unwanted phone calls or other contact — letters, emails, texts, gifts
  • property invasion or damage
  • proxy stalking (using another person to stalk)
  • technology — GPS devices, social media, spyware, hidden cameras, etc.

Help is available. Safe Harbor’s 24-hour helpline can be reached at (804) 287-7877 to discuss one’s experience, receive support, develop a safety plan and access resources. Local law enforcement can help one determine if criminal charges can be filed against a stalker. Protective orders are also available in either General District or Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court (court to be utilized will depend on victim’s relationship with stalker). The Stalking Resource Center’s website is an excellent resource.

Safe Harbor has representatives available to discuss stalking and intimate partner violence. Please contact Kathleen Demro ( or 804-249-9470 X 11) to set up an interview.

About Safe Harbor

Safe Harbor empowers survivors of sexual and domestic violence to transform their lives, and promotes healthy relationships for all. The agency was born through the efforts of a St. Mary’s Hospital emergency room nurse who was devastated by the number of domestic abuse victims she treated. As a result, Safe Harbor opened in April 2000. It has grown from an emergency shelter to offering additional critical supportive services including a 24-hour confidential helpline (804-287-7877), community counseling programs for adults and children, community support groups in English and Spanish, court advocacy, hospital accompaniment and community education and outreach services.  For more information, please visit or