WASHINGTON—Congresswoman Stephanie Murphy, D-Fla., and Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick, R-Pa., introduced a resolution, H. Res. 68, designating January 2021 as National Stalking Awareness Month to raise awareness regarding the dangers of stalking and to educate Americans about how to prevent and respond to stalking. Senators Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., and Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, introduced a companion resolution, S. Res. 21, in the U.S Senate. An estimated 6 to 7.5 million people are stalked every year in the United States, and about half of all victims were stalked before the age of 25.
“In the age of social media and the internet, predators have more tools and avenues to pursue and harass innocent victims, especially children,” said Murphy. “In addition to updating our laws for the 21st century, we must continue to spread awareness about the dangers of stalking and share resources that are available to help victims rebuild their lives. This bipartisan resolution is the next step to empower survivors and educate the public.”
“Stalking is a dangerous and prevalent crime that impacts every community in our nation. We must respond to all egregious instances of stalking and cyberstalking, especially when committed against minors – the most vulnerable among us. Unfortunately, with the rise of the internet, our laws have failed to keep up with the emergence of cyberstalking, ” said Fitzpatrick. “Last year, with the signing of my Combat Online Predators Act into law, we have taken action on increasing federal penalties on stalkers who target our children and pushed ahead on updating best practices for law enforcement. This bipartisan resolution reaffirms our commitment to keep fighting for all stalking victims and raise awareness while educating and protecting our communities.”
Murphy and Fitzpatrick introduced this resolution in the wake of their bipartisan bill, the Combat Online Predators Act, being signed into law in December. The law increases federal criminal penalties for adults who are convicted of stalking minors, whether that stalking takes place in cyberspace or in the community.