Almost 30% of all stalking victims are aged 50 or older (Truman, J.L., & Morgan, R.E. (2021)) but media and pop culture depictions of this crime would lead one to believe that its victims are primarily young. A study reviewing data from the National Violence Against Women Survey found that older adults were almost as likely as younger people to be stalked (US Department of Justice (1998)). The study also found that women aged 55 and older are more likely than men of the same age to be stalked. Most often the stalker is someone known to the victim and often stalking occurs as part of domestic violence in later life (A Smith, S.G., Basile, K.C., & Kresnow, M. (2022)).
Many victims who are older or have a disability may not be believed if they report stalking, particularly if the victim has dementia or psychiatric disabilities. Others may not be believed because of the frailty or disability of the stalker. By educating ourselves about the prevalence and dynamics of stalking among victims over 50, people who work with older survivors can more quickly and effectively identify or develop resources and services to meet older victims’ unique needs.
We all have a role to play in identifying stalking and supporting victims and survivors. This January, to commemorate National Stalking Awareness Month (NSAM), NCALL invites you to check out our new resource sheet, Stalking in Later Life. It contains important information on common stalking tactics, the impacts of stalking on victims, the unique challenges of stalking in later life cases, and resources for support. Also, be sure to head over to the Stalking Prevention, Awareness, and Resource Center (SPARC) website for many more tools, infographics, and stalking fact sheets.
Truman, J.L., & Morgan, R.E. (2021). Stalking Victimization, 2016. Washington, DC: US DOJ, Bureau of Justice Statistics, Special Report.
US Department of Justice, “Stalking in America: findings from the National Violence Against Women Survey” (1998). National Institute of Justice Research in Brief. 45.
A Smith, S.G., Basile, K.C., & Kresnow, M. (2022). The National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey (NISVS): 2016/2017 Report on Stalking. Atlanta, GA: National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Centers for Disease control and Prevention.