FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 2, 2009
Contact: Matthew Dunlap
January Stalking Awareness Month
Secretary of State encourages program use
AUGUSTA , MAINE- January is National Stalking Awareness Month, and Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap joins victim advocates across the country educating the public about the crime that affects nearly 1.4 million Americans a year. The Secretary of State's office administers Maine 's Address Confidentiality Program, designed to help victims of domestic violence conceal their home address.
Stalking—typically defined as a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to feel fear—is a criminal offense under the laws of all 50 states, the District of Columbia , and the federal government. According to the National Center for Victims of Crime, one in 12 women and one in 45 men will be stalked in their lifetime, for an average duration of almost two years. Seventy-six percent of female homicide victims were also stalked prior to their death.
“To raise awareness and educate communities on the severity of stalking, Governor Baldacci has honored my request to proclaim January 2009 as Stalking Awareness Month in Maine ,” said Dunlap. “Stalkers have many means to keep victims in their power. It is imperative that we recognize stalking and seek safety and assistance to stop it.”
Maine is one of 32 states that currently have an Address Confidentiality Program. Passed by the 120 th Legislature, Maine 's program provides a designated address to individuals who have relocated or plan to move to a location unknown to their abuser. It also provides participants with a first-class mail forwarding service. The designated address has no relationship to the participant's actual address. As a result of the program, victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking are able to interact with businesses, government agencies and other organizations without disclosing their actual address.
Acceptance into the ACP program is made through trained Application Assistants at domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking advocate programs throughout Maine . More than 100 Application Assistants have been trained and certified, representing 26 organizations in 16 counties
“This program is designed for people who live in fear of being found by their abuser,” said Dunlap. “I strongly urge anyone who is in this situation to contact their local
domestic violence shelter where they can be advised if this is a program that would be helpful to them.”
A complete listing of trained assistants and additional information about the program can be found on the Secretary of State's website at: www.maine.gov/sos/acp.
Advocates interested in the program can request training and certification by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 207-626-8400. For more information about National Stalking Awareness Month, visit the National Center for Victims of Crime's website at www.ncvc.org/src .
The text of the Proclamation follows:
State of Maine
WHEREAS , under the laws of all fifty states, the District of Columbia , and federal government, stalking is a crime; and
WHEREAS , 1 in 12 women and 1 in 45 men will be stalked in their lifetime; and
WHEREAS , 3 in 4 women killed by an intimate partner had been stalked by them; and
WHEREAS , many stalking victims lose time from work and experience lost productivity and serious psychological distress at a much higher rate than the general population; and
WHEREAS , many stalking victims are forced to take drastic measures to protect themselves, such as relocating, changing their identities, and obtaining protection orders; and
WHEREAS , many stalkers use increasingly sophisticated devices—such as global positioning systems, cameras, and computer spyware—to track their victims; and
WHEREAS , there is a need for great public awareness about the nature, criminality, and potential lethality of stalking; and
WHEREAS , criminal justice systems can enhance their responses to stalking by regular training of law enforcement officers and aggressive investigation and prosecution; and
WHEREAS , laws and public policies must be continually adapted to keep pace with new tactics used by stalkers; and
WHEARAS , Maine is joining national organizations, victim service providers, criminal justice officials, and concerned citizens to observe National Stalking Awareness Month and to promote the 2009 theme, “Stalking: Know It. Name It. Stop It. ” ,
NOW, THEREFORE, I, JOHN E. BALDACCI, Governor of the State of Maine , do hereby proclaim the month of January, 2009 as
STALKING AWARENESS MONTH
throughout the State of Maine, and urge all citizens to recognize this observance.
In testimony whereof, I have caused
the Great Seal of the State to be
hereunto affixed GIVEN under my hand
at Augusta this twenty-ninth day of December
Two Thousand and Eight.
John E. Baldacci
Secretary of State