James Dill, Retired Deputy Chief from the Attorney General, presented a training about Digital Stalking. Dill spoke to an audience of crime victim advocates, law enforcement officers, representatives of various social service agencies, school officials and prosecutors here in Wayne County on October 24, 2018.
The presentation was sponsored by the Wayne County Anti-Violence Task Force in conjunction with the STOP Domestic Violence Grant. October is Domestic Violence Awareness month.
Repeatedly receiving unwanted telephone calls, voice, or text messages was the most commonly experienced stalking tactic for both female and male victims of stalking (78.8% for women and 75.9% for men). Victims of digital abuse and harassment are 2 times as likely to be physically abused, 2.5 times as likely to be psychologically abused, and 5 times as likely to be sexually coerced.
Dill explained that 5.3 million adults in the U.S. experience some type of Stalking or Harassment per year. But, there are simple steps that can help limit your vulnerability to these crimes, such as password protecting your cellphone and other internet connected devices.
Wayne County District Attorney, Patrick Robinson applauded the efforts of the local law enforcement agencies, including members of the Honesdale Borough Police, and the Wayne County Detectives who attended Wednesday’s training. DA Robinson, who successfully prosecuted a stalking/domestic homicide case earlier in the year, stated “Although new innovations in technology offer more tools for people to utilize, it also opens more avenues for the Stalker/Abuser. This is an increasingly worrisome crime which may have horrifying consequences.”
In Pennsylvania, Stalking is currently graded as a 1st degree Misdemeanor, punishable by up to 5 years in jail and a $10,000 fine. A subsequent violation can constitute a felony offense
District Attorney Robinson urged anyone who fears that they are a victim of digital stalking or any type of domestic violence to contact the Police, Victim’s Intervention Program (570) 253-4401 or their local domestic violence shelter.