January 2020 is the sixteenth annual National Stalking Awareness Month, and the Osage Nation Family Violence Prevention Department is planning a training session to help law officers, advocates for victims, and concerned citizens learn to cope effectively with the various behaviors that stalkers exhibit.

The free training session is scheduled from 8 a.m. until noon Tuesday, Jan. 21, at Law Building Room 121, 1071 Grandview, Pawhuska. Registration is scheduled from 8-8:15 a.m. Then, the first session of the workshop is scheduled to cover “Identifying and Responding to Stalking,” and the second session is to address “Stalking 2.0: The Use of Technology to Stalk.”

The training is CLEET accredited, so it will count toward professional education requirements for law officers. For more information on the workshop, call 918-287-5253.

Olivia Gray, director of the ON Family Violence Prevention Department, said the training was set up with law officers and advocates in mind, but it turns out a lot of victims are interested in learning more about stalking and ways to respond effectively to it.

“I’m kind of pleasantly surprised,” Gray said regarding increased public interest. The commonly trafficked myth is that stalkers are people who develop a crush of some kind and follow someone home, Gray said. The reality is that stalking is usually a controlling behavior on the part of an abuser who refuses to let go, she said.

“Once the victim leaves, that’s a go-to method to continue the punishment,” Gray said. The use of cell-phone related technology to track and harass abuse victims is becoming much more common, she said, giving the example that stalkers have begun to use the app employed by telemarketers to mask the origin of telephone calls. This particular tactic can create a problem for law officers who are used to documenting numerous unwanted calls from specific telephone numbers, she said.

“What we see out of this office is that, overwhelmingly, stalkers are abusers,” Gray said. “It’s usually someone you know who is trying to exert power and control over you.”

Remember, the training is free and you don’t have to be a law officer or a professional advocate to take it.