Better legal handling: Justice Department wants to sharpen stalking paragraphs

Better legal handling
Justice Department wants to sharpen stalking paragraphs

The anti-stalking legislation was last amended in 2017. Photo: Angelika Warmuth / dpa

© dpa-infocom GmbH

It is an absolute horror for the victims – stalking turns everyday life into a nightmare for many of those affected. It is also often difficult to take legal action against it – that is about to change.

According to plans by the Federal Ministry of Justice, victims of stalking should in future have better legal recourse against their tormentors.

“My aim is to simplify the prosecution of stalking acts so that the perpetrators do not get away and are shown clear boundaries,” said Justice Minister Christine Lambrecht (SPD) of the “Stuttgarter Zeitung” and the “Stuttgarter Nachrichten”. Harassment on the net should also be punishable in the future.

The cabinet is due today to adopt a report from the ministry on possible reforms in the current anti-stalking rules. The report, which is available to the German Press Agency, recommends lower legal hurdles for a conviction for stalking and a partial tightening of the sentence. Initially, the portal “The Pioneer” reported on it.

According to the report, the wording in the law, in particular, that only “persistent” stalking is criminally relevant, has practical application problems for the courts. The term should be checked and replaced by “repeated”.

Furthermore, the penalty for particularly serious cases of stalking could be increased from up to three to up to five years, as the report shows. So far, this only applies to cases in which the health and life of the victim or his relatives were endangered. In the future, this could also be used in cases of particularly protracted re-enactments or violations of contact bans.

The anti-stalking legislation was last amended in 2017. At that time it was stipulated that not only the actual impairment of the life of the victims is punishable – but also behavior that is “objectively suitable” for causing serious impairment.


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