January officially recognized as Stalking Awareness Month by Hochul’s proclamation

January 18th marks Stalking Awareness Day of Action.

Gov. Kathy Hochul, Governor of New York state, has officially declared January as Stalking Awareness Month, with January 18 marked as the Stalking Awareness Day of Action.

In a proclamation, she has urged everyone to stand against stalking and all forms of gender-based violence. As a symbolic gesture, the Governor has ordered that all state landmarks be illuminated in yellow tonight as a tribute to those affected by stalking.

“I was raised in a household that actively supported survivors of domestic violence, and this cause holds a special place in my heart. It is crucial for the well-being and safety of families in New York,” Hochul expressed.

“Contemporary experts have emphasized the correlation between stalking, technology-based harassment, and domestic or intimate partner violence. I am fully committed to enhancing awareness about these abusive and escalating behaviors, as well as ensuring that abusers face appropriate consequences.”

Kelli Owens, the Executive Director of the New York State Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence, emphasizes the significant overlap between individuals affected by domestic and gender-based violence and victims of stalking, particularly through technology-based methods.

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Acknowledging the prevalence of stalking, it is crucial that we address this form of abuse and prioritize efforts to combat it, especially in college settings. The OPDV takes pride in the publication of the Technology Safety for Survivors of Gender-Based Violence Guide, which serves as a valuable resource for victims of stalking and all forms of gender-based violence.

The New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services Commissioner, Rossana Rosado, expressed her pride in her agency’s efforts to equip law enforcement professionals with the necessary training and information. Their objective is to effectively identify and assist victims and survivors of stalking, while also holding individuals accountable for their actions.

Additionally, they aim to support programs that focus on reducing recidivism, ultimately enhancing public safety for all residents of New York. John Watson, the Acting Director of the New York State Office of Victim Services, emphasized the importance of providing support to victims of stalking.

He stated that victims deserve assistance and resources to help them navigate through the aftermath of such a traumatic experience. The Office of Victim Services takes pride in offering support to victims and survivors of all crimes, including stalking. This includes providing compensation benefits to help victims cover the expenses incurred as a result of the crime.

Additionally, the Office of Victim Services funds over 200 victim assistance programs across the state, ensuring that local resources are available to those in need.

Some of the landmarks that will be illuminated include:

    • 1WTC
    • Governor Mario M. Cuomo Bridge
    • Kosciuszko Bridge
    • The H. Carl McCall SUNY Building
    • State Education Building
    • Alfred E. Smith State Office Building
    • Empire State Plaza
    • State Fairgrounds – Main Gate & Expo Center
    • Niagara Falls
    • Albany International Airport Gateway
    • MTA LIRR – East End Gateway at Penn Station
    • Fairport Lift Bridge over the Erie Canal
    • Moynihan Trail Hall
    • The Walkway Over the Hudson State Park and Friends of the Walkway Over the Hudson

Hochul’s team has stated that the New York State Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence (OPDV) is fully committed to safeguarding college campuses in New York through the implementation of the Enough is Enough Law. Since 2021, campuses that adhere to the Enough is Enough policy have witnessed a staggering 145% surge in stalking reports filed by students.

In response to this alarming increase, OPDV has decided to allocate a specific portion of the 2024 Enough is Enough convening to raise awareness about stalking and explore how campuses can effectively address this pressing issue. The Enough is Enough convening serves as an annual gathering for all grant providers associated with the initiative, offering them a platform to discuss their respective programs and gain insights on how to enhance their services by prioritizing survivor-centered approaches, trauma-informed practices, and cultural sensitivity.

OPDV is currently running a social media awareness campaign on their Facebook, X (formerly Twitter), Instagram, and LinkedIn pages to commemorate Stalking Awareness Month. If you want to learn more about stalking and discover helpful resources, make sure to check out OPDV’s social media platforms.

Earlier this month, OPDV unveiled the Technology Safety for Survivors of Gender-Based Violence Guide. This comprehensive guide offers valuable insights and practical tips for individuals affected by gender-based violence, empowering them to safeguard themselves against technology-facilitated abuse. Victims and survivors of stalking can utilize this safety guide to enhance their personal security.

The Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence (OPDV) is the nation’s sole executive-level state agency that focuses on addressing gender-based violence.

If you or someone you know is in need of immediate assistance, the state’s domestic and sexual violence hotline is accessible at all times. You can reach out by calling 800-942-6906, texting 844-997-2121, or engaging in a chat with the team at @opdv.ny.gov.

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