Dear Members,

Stalking Awareness Month is upon us, and I want to take a moment to thank you and your volunteers for all you do to educate Texans about this serious issue.

As chair of the Senate Committee on Health and Human Services, I know that stalking is the number one predictor of subsequent violence against a victim.  With the help of the Texas Council on Family Violence, this year I authored and the Legislature passed legislation strengthening our state’s stalking laws.  It clarifies that stalking includes behaviors against a victim’s current dating partner and gives victims the right to offer crucial testimony in court.

We need to work together to empower victims of stalking.  Law enforcement agencies, our court system, and individuals must understand that this issue is not limited to the stories we read about celebrity stalkers.  For victims, it is so much more.  Nearly one-third of female murder victims were first stalked by their killers.  More than 40 percent of victims report that their stalking was preceded by acts of domestic violence.  Perpetrators of this crime use ruthless tactics to keep their victims in fear.

The Legislature unanimously passed the stalking law, sending a powerful message that this crime will not be tolerated in our state.  The Texas Council on Family Violence played a key role in that victory, and I am grateful for your partnership!

Very truly yours,

Senator Jane Nelson