Skip to site content

Stalking as a Public Health Concern

by Nicole Stahlmann, MN, RN, SANE-A, AFN-BC, SANE-P, FNE-A/P, forensic nursing consultant, IHS Division of Nursing Services

The National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey - Report on Stalking indicated that one in three women and one in six men have been stalked at some point in their lives. Nearly one in two (or approximately 48.8 percent) of American Indian and Alaska Native women experienced stalking in their lifetime.

Stalking is a form of power and control, and is a threat to public health. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, stalking “involves a perpetrator’s use of a pattern of harassing or threatening tactics that are both unwanted and cause fear or safety concerns in a victim.” Every victimization is unique, but some stalking victims have reported feelings of fear, being threatened, and concern for overall safety of themselves, family, pets, or friends, and feeling vulnerable, confused and frustrated by the perpetrator.

The CDC states that stalking tactics can include:

  • unwanted following or watching of the victim
  • unwanted approaching or showing up in places, such as the victim’s home, place of employment, or school
  • unwanted text messages, calls, or posts to social media
  • unwanted use of technology to track or monitor the victim
  • leaving strange or potentially threatening items for the victim to find
  • unwanted cards, letters, flowers, gifts damaging personal property harassment, which includes harassing the victim, their family, or friends, and
  • hacking into online accounts and changing settings, passwords, or personal information, etc.

On December 29, 2023, President Joe Biden reaffirmed the commitment to building a future where everyone can live free from fear, threats, and abuse, with a Proclamation on National Stalking Awareness Month, 2024.

January is National Stalking Awareness Month. As the IHS remains committed to raising awareness, we are taking vital actions to reducing the impact of violence, such as creating resources, building forensic healthcare champions, and aligning with a preventative vision for a healthier future.

Helpful Resources:

Nicole Stahlmann, MN, RN, SANE-A, AFN-BC, SANE-P, FNE-A/P, forensic nursing consultant, IHS Division of Nursing Services
Nicole Stahlmann, MN, RN, SANE-A, AFN-BC, SANE-P, FNE-A/P, serves as the forensic nursing consultant with the IHS Division of Nursing Services. Prior to her work with IHS, she served as a forensic nursing specialist with the International Association of Forensic Nurses and was the clinical program manager for the District of Columbia Forensic Nurse Examiners. Stahlmann was an emergency department nurse and adjunct instructor, teaching both undergraduate and master prepared students at Georgetown University. She continues to practice clinically, providing care for patients who have experienced violence.