Talking About Stalking

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Often the word “stalking” gets used casually when looking at someone’s social media pictures. But in reality, stalking is much more sinister.

What is Stalking?

“It’s a pattern of behavior that’s directed at a specific person that causes a reasonable to feel fear,” explained Amy Leisten, prevention educator at Family Shelter Service.

Leisten and several other experts sat on a panel at Benedictine University for an event titled “Talking About Stalking.” The audience heard presentations on what constitutes stalking, how stalking has changed with social media, and how stalking can be addressed through the legal system.

“A person can seek an order of protection or possibly a stalking no contact order,” said Honorary Judge Ann Celine Walsh, who also serves as chairperson for the Family Violence Coordinating Council. “And there are a number of requirements in order to bring forth those petitions. Oftentimes it would have to include threat of physical violence. But there are definitely means in which a person that believes they are being victimized can utilize in the courts in order to obtain certain protections.”

Family Shelter Service Support

For victims of stalking, the most important thing to do is to seek help. Leisten said, along with counseling, Family Shelter Service offers a variety of ways to provide aid.

“We can offer legal support regarding filing orders of protection,” she said. “Within the agency itself we have our hotline that’s 24/7 so that is an opportunity for someone to call in, which they can do anonymously and they can ask their questions, we can connect them to resources, get them in touch with potentially lawyers or legal aid if that is an option for them.”

One in six women and one in 17 men will be stalked at some point in their life, making education on the issue, all the more important.

Naperville News 17’s Casey Krajewski reports.


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