Domestic violence on the rise; Stalking soon follows

Published: Jan. 8, 2021 at 10:23 PM CST
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GRAND ISLAND, Neb. (KSNB) - Six million people in the United States are being stalked every single year and with domestic violence on the rise during the coronavirus pandemic, this type of harassment might be happening more than you think.

“When victims decide that they are strong enough to get away from someone then that takes that control away. Then they’re going to step it up and usually start stalking,” said Crisis Center Associate Director Ladonna Obermiller.

The Crisis Center in Grand Island knows first hand what this type of harassment can do to victims. It causes survivors to constantly look over their shoulder in fear of being found and attacked.

“It really can cause some chaos,” Obermiller said. “We’ve had victims who lost their job because their stalker is driving past the business, or their calling or they’re coming into the business and trying to have contact even if there is a protection order is in place.”

Aggressors may call, leave threatening emails and texts. They may also leave unwanted gifts, set trackers on cars and devices, or even harass family members to get in contact.

The Grand Island Police Department suggests victims document phone records, take screenshots and save all communications because it can be hard to prove someone is stalking in a court of law.

“Somebody just driving by a house proving that intent may be difficult. That’s why we need that documentation and we need that visual pattern of behavior over time,” Lt. Dean Kottwitz said.

Grand Island Police tells victims to stop by or call them directly at (308) 385-5400. The Crisis Center also suggest reaching out to them through their 24/7 hotline at (308) 381-0555, or message them on their website or Facebook for help. They get protection orders, offer services and shelter for victims to seek refuge from their attacker while they investigate.

“We work very closely with law enforcement and we can help you get you through that,“ Obermiller said. “We have a lot of services here for all victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking, human trafficking.”

Lt. Kottwitz said victims who don’t seek help often times end up getting hurt or worse, killed.