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European Journal on Criminal Policy and Research

, Volume 15, Issue 3, pp 229–242 | Cite as

The Legal Situation on Stalking among the European Member States

  • Laura De Fazio
Article

Abstract

Stalking became a subject of academic and social concern in Europe in the mid-1990s. Shortly afterwards the issue of legislation became the subject of debate in some countries and in 1997 the United Kingdom was the first European Member State that passed anti-stalking legislation. Denmark constitutes an exception because its Criminal Code of 1933 contains a provision which also deals with stalking. Other States that up to now have passed legislation against stalking in Europe are Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, Malta, Ireland, Austria and, last in order of time, Italy. Where an anti-stalking law exists, legislators have introduced a new article into the existing Penal Code or have amended an article still in force for similar conduct, or have introduced a specific Act against Harassment or Domestic Violence which is intended to cover not only such conduct but also stalking. In the remaining European countries where an anti- stalking law does not exist, it is possible to prosecute stalking only when the behaviour amounts to crimes prosecutable under other existing norms. This article analyses legal regulations on stalking across European Member States in civil and criminal justice considering specific laws addressing the phenomenon or, alternatively, other laws under which stalking can be prosecuted. In the conclusions some advantages and disadvantages of European anti-stalking laws are discussed and some suggestions are given for future work in order to improve the protection of the victims of stalking.

Keywords

Civil justice Criminal justice European Member States Legislation Restraining order Stalking 

Notes

Acknowledgements

The study has been supported by a European Commission grant to project N° JAI 05-1/125/W “Protecting women from the new crime of stalking: a comparison of legislative approaches within the European Union” conducted in the frame of the Daphne Program to prevent and combat violence against children, young people and women.

The study also received support by: Region Emilia Romagna, Province of Modena, Municipality of Modena and Italian Institute of Social Medicine.

The participation of the following researchers of the Modena Group on Stalking (MGS) in the conception and conduction of the research project is acknowledged:

Marcelo Aebi, Department de Ciència Politica i de Dret Pùblic Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Spain;

David James, Frank Farnham, Barnet, Enfield & Haringey, Mental Health NHS Trust, North London Forensic Service, United Kingdom;

Marijke Malsch, Netherlands Institute for the Study of Crime and Law Enforcement, The Netherlands;

Gorazd Meško, Aleš Bučar Ručman, Faculty of Criminal Justice and Security, University of Maribor, Slovenia;

Chiara Sgarbi, Department of Forensic Medicine, University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, Italy;

Anne Groenen, Geert Vervaeke, Leuven Institute of Criminology, Catholic University Leuven, Belgium;

Hans Georg Voss, Jens Hoffmann, Technical University of Darmstat, Germany;

Helina Häkkänen, University of Helsinky, Finland.

Harald Dressing, Supervisor of the Project, Central Institute of Mental health of Mannheim, Germany.

All the key experts that participated in the project are acknowledged.

The author wish to thank Silvia Bertoni M. Phil., for useful comments and stylistic revision of previous drafts of this paper.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Facoltà di GiurisprudenzaUniversità di Modena e Reggio EmiliaModenaItaly

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