HONESDALE -- A Training Specialist from the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence presented information about the crime of Stalking to an audience of crime victim advocates, law enforcement officers, representatives of various social service agencies, school officials, and prosecutors here in Wayne County on Wednesday, Sept. 19.
Lois Fasnacht explained that stalking occurs when a person is fearful of being repeatedly followed or contacted by a stranger or intimate partner. Stalking in addition to physical violence is more lethal than either behavior alone.
In 2015, the National Center for Victims of Crime: Stalking Resource Center has identified that 7.5 million people are stalked in the United States in one year. 76% of female victims of homicide had been stalked by their intimate partner.
Wayne County District Attorney, Patrick Robison applauded the efforts of the local law enforcement agencies, including members of the Honesdale Borough Police, Hawley Borough Police, Lehigh Township Police and the Wayne County Sheriff’s Office who attended Wednesday’s training. “One of the most important things we can do is to recognize the danger to the victim," Robinson said. "A stalker in an intimate relationship with the victim may attempt to control her by threatening harm to the children or other family members. Unfortunately, the average duration of intimate partner stalking is in excess of two years.”
Fasnacht suggested that victims who stop having contact with the stalker should be taken to their local domestic violence program to devise a safety plan.
In Pennsylvania, Stalking is currently graded as a 1st degree Misdemeanor, punishable by up to 5 years in jail and a $10,000 fine. A subsequent violation can constitute a felony offense.
District Attorney Robinson urged anyone who fears that they are a victim of stalking to contact the Police, Victim’s Intervention Program (570) 253-4401 or their local domestic violence shelter.