International Legislation

This page contains the reference for and, where available, a link to the anti-stalking legislation in each jurisdiction where we know relevant legislation exists. This list represents the best of our knowledge to date (last comprehensively updated January 2014). If your country is not listed, it is because we could find no reference to stalking in any legislation. However, there are undoubtedly laws criminalising stalking and harassment that we are unaware of. If you know of anti-stalking legislation that is not listed on this page, or if the information we have is incorrect, please contact us to provide details.

In many countries, there is no specific anti-stalking law, but laws exist that are relevant to preventing or policing stalking, or there have been discussions in the media or government about the need for specific anti-stalking legislation. Where we are aware of specific articles or reports discussing these issues, they have been included in the list below as references for professionals or victims in those countries.

Comprehensive discussions of the characteristics and status of European stalking laws are provided in the 2007 Modena Group on Stalking report: Protecting women from the new crime of stalking: A comparison of legislative approaches within the European Union and the associated Manual for victims and helping professionals (in multiple languages). Please note that some of these discussions are now out of date as some countries have since introduced legislation. Please check below in addition to reading the report. A more recent review is available in Van Der Aa and Römken’s 2013 discussion of the state of the art of stalking legislation in Europe.

Anti-stalking and anti-harassment legislation by country

Afghanistan

The Afghan government passed the ‘Elimination of Violence Against Women’ (EVAW) law as part of the Shia Family Law in August 2009, which reportedly prohibits stalking of women (not men). However, implementation of this law is slow and problematic. A brief description of the EVAW law is available at:

http://www.unhcr.org/refworld/pdfid/4caebb4f0.pdf (search for the word ‘stalking’)

Antigua and Barbuda

There is no law prohibiting stalking in Antigua and Barbuda. However, the organisation ‘Women Against Rape’ has worked with the US Stalking Awareness Organisation to increase public knowledge about stalking and its effects. Brief details are available from: 

www.ncvc.org/src/main.aspx?dbID=DB_NSAM2008739#AT

Australia

Australian Capital Territory: Crimes Act 1900 s35 Stalking http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/act/consol_act/ca190082/s35.html

New South Wales: Crimes (Domestic and Personal Violence) Act 2007 s13 Stalking or intimidation with intent to cause fear of physical or mental harm
http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/nsw/consol_act/capva2007347/s13.html

Northern Territory: Criminal Code s189 Unlawful Stalking
http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/nt/consol_act/cc94/s189.html

Queensland: Criminal Code 1899 s359A-F Unlawful stalking
http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/qld/consol_act/cc189994/s359a.html

South Australia: Criminal Law Consolidation Act 1935 s19AA Unlawful stalking
http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/sa/consol_act/clca1935262/s19aa.html

Tasmania: Criminal Code Act 1924 Schedule 1 s192 Stalking
http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/tas/consol_act/cca1924115/sch1.html

Victoria: Crimes Act 1958 s21A Stalking
http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/vic/consol_act/ca195882/s21a.html

Western Australia: Criminal Code Act 1913 s338D-E Stalking
http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/wa/consol_act/ccaca1913252/notes.html#appendixa

Austria

Criminal Code s107a Beharrliche Verfolgung (persistent pursuit) and Schutz vor Eingriffen in die Privatsphäre § 382g EO (Protection against invasion of privacy. An English translation of the relevant sections of the Criminal Code can be found at:

http://www.austria.gv.at/site/cob__37006/6845/default.aspx

The Bahamas

The Domestic Violence (Protection Orders) Act 1997 amended the Sexual Offences and Domestic Violence Act to define and outlaw stalking in the context of a domestic or dependant relationship. This act also provides a protection order in such cases.

www.oas.org/dil/The_Domestic_Violence_Act_Bahamas.pdf

Bangladesh

In the wake of a 2010 High Court direction for the government to develop a policy better to manage the problem of the stalking of women, the government modified the ‘Mobile Court Act 2009’ in November 2010 to allow men who stalk women to be tried summarily. Offenders can be sentenced to a maximum of one year in prison or a fine. In January 2011, the High Court declared stalking to be a form of sexual offence and ordered that the Prevention of Repression on Women and Children Act be amended to include stalking in its provisions. Note that stalking has also been referred to as ‘eve teasing’ in Bangladesh. Some information is provided at:

http://www.southasianrights.org/?p=2056 (24 November 2010), and;

http://www.southasianrights.org/?p=2316 (27 January 2011)


Belgium

Criminal Code, 442bis. The Belgian police provide a comprehensive discussion of the law and how it is applied at:

http://www.polfed-fedpol.be/crim/crim_fccu_stalking_nl.php#_Wetgeving_en_juridische_middelen (in Dutch or French)

An English-language discussion of the criminal justice system response to stalking in Belgium and the Netherlands can be found in:

Van der Aa, S., & Green, A. (2011). Identifying the Needs of Victims Stalking and the responsiveness of the Criminal Justice System: A qualitative study in Belgium and the Netherlands. Offenders and Victims, 6 (1), 19-37. (subscription required)

Courtesy of Dr Anne Groenen, Luevens Instituut Voor Criminolgie, K.U. Leuven

Bermuda

Stalking Act 1997 

http://www.bermudalaws.bm/site_docs/laws.aspx?RootFolder=/Laws/Consolidated Laws&sel=S (lists Acts in alphabetical order, scroll down to ‘stalking’)

Bosnia and Herzegovina

Law on Protection from Domestic Violence 2005, Article 14 Prohibition of harassment or stalking. Relates only to ‘family members’.

www.hsph.harvard.edu/population/domesticviolence/bosnia.domesticviol.05.pdf (in English)

Botswana

Domestic Violence Act 2008. Stalking and harassment are considered as forms of domestic violence. The law is applicable only to individuals sharing or who have shared a ‘domestic relationship’.

http://www.laws.gov.bw/VOLUME%204/CHAPTER%2028-05%20DOMESTIC%20VIOLENCE.pdf

Canada

Criminal Code s264 Criminal harassment

http://www.canlii.org/en/ca/laws/stat/rsc-1985-c-c-46/latest/rsc-1985-c-c-46.html (search for ‘criminal harassment’)

Some Canadian provinces (e.g. Manitoba) also have specific anti-stalking provisions, making it worth checking with your local police or legislature.

Cayman Islands

The Protection from Domestic Violence Bill 2010 was approved by the Legislative Assembly in September 2010. This bill offers protection from stalking to victims of family or domestic violence only. In their 2010 annual report, the Cayman Islands Law Reform Commission noted that they would be undertaking research beginning in April 2010 into the need for a specific anti-stalking law.

Protection from Domestic Violence Bill 2010 (stalking implicitly included in definition of ‘psychological and emotional abuse’)

Two newspaper stories outlining the details of the bill are available here:

http://www.compasscayman.com/story.aspx?id=27504, http://www.compasscayman.com/caycompass/2010/09/15/Domestic-violence-bill-supported/

Cyprus

There is currently no anti-stalking law in Cyprus. Details about how stalking may be dealt with are included in the Modena report into stalking in Europe, available at:

stalking.medlegmo.unimo.it/RAPPORTO_versione_finale_011007.pdf

Czech Republic

Penal Code, s354 (in Czech).

The proceedings of the 2012 WSEAS International Conference on Economics, Political and Law Science includes a paper by Monika Horakova that discusses the law and its application. The paper can be downloaded from:

http://www.wseas.us/e-library/conferences/2012/Zlin/EPRI/EPRI-27.pdf 

Courtesy of Dr Dagmara Woźniakowska-Fajst, Warsaw University.

Denmark

Straffeloven (Criminal Code), Chap. 27, s265

https://www.retsinformation.dk/forms/r0710 (in Danish)

Estonia

There is currently no anti-stalking law in Estonia. Details about how stalking may be dealt with are included in the Modena report into stalking in Europe, available at:

stalking.medlegmo.unimo.it/RAPPORTO_versione_finale_011007.pdf

France

There is currently no anti-stalking law in France. Details about how stalking may be dealt with are included in the Modena report into stalking in Europe, available at:

stalking.medlegmo.unimo.it/RAPPORTO_versione_finale_011007.pdf

Germany

Germany has had a civil anti-stalking law since 2002, and a criminal law since 2007. The wording of the legislation (in German) can be found at:-

http://dipbt.bundestag.de/dip21/btd/16/005/1600575.pdf

The legislation and its application is discussed in the Modena report available at:

stalking.medlegmo.unimo.it/RAPPORTO_versione_finale_011007.pdf

Greece

There is currently no anti-stalking law in Greece. Details about how stalking may be dealt with are included in the Modena report into stalking in Europe, available at:

stalking.medlegmo.unimo.it/RAPPORTO_versione_finale_011007.pdf

Guernsey

Protection from Harassment (Bailiwick of Guernsey) Law, 2005. The Guernsey law is identical in content to the UK Protection from Harassment Act 1997, although the numbering is slightly different:

http://www.guernseylegalresources.gg/ccm/legal-resources/laws/crime-and-criminal-justice/protection-from-harassment-bailiwick-of-guernsey-law-2005.en

Guyana

Domestic Violence Act, 1996. This act applies only to females in the context of a domestic relationship. Although the act uses the word ‘harassment’, subsequent guidelines for magistrates’ court staff include stalking as a type of domestic violence and the act allows for the imposition of a protection order to prevent ex-intimate stalking behaviour. The Act is available from:

webapps01.un.org/vawdatabase/uploads/Domestic%20Violence%20Act.pdf

 A 2008 UNHCR discussion of the application of this law is available from:

 www.unhcr.org/refworld/country,,,,GUY,,492ac7c328,0.html

Hong Kong

Hong Kong has no specific anti-stalking legislation. However, the Hong Kong Law Reform Commission undertook a consultation and published a final report recommending changes to existing legislation in 2000. A summary and the full HKLRC report can be found at:

http://www.hkreform.gov.hk/en/publications/rstalk.htm

In December 2011, the Hong Kong government opened a consultation process examining the need for an anti-stalking law and what form such a law would take. Details of the consultation (open until March 31 2012) can be found at:

www.cmab.gov.hk/en/issues/stalking.htm

Hungary

There is currently no anti-stalking law in Hungary. Details about how stalking may be dealt with are included in the Modena report into stalking in Europe, available at:

stalking.medlegmo.unimo.it/RAPPORTO_versione_finale_011007.pdf

India

Stalking had been dealt with under a range of different laws until February 2013 when an amendment to the Indian Penal Code came into effect, specifically outlawing stalking in s354D. The law exists within a wider section discussing ‘Assault or criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty’ and only applies to men stalking women. It includes cyberstalking provisions.

Courtesy of Ms Namita Malik, ITM University

Some information on the legal and policing situation prior to the 2013 amendment is included in this article:

www.mightylaws.in/208/stalking-phenomenon-legal-status-preventive-measures

Iran

There is no law against stalking in Iran. Amir Hossein Kordvani presented a paper discussing stalking behaviour in Iran in 2000, which includes some discussion of legal and policing responses. This paper can be found at:

http://www.rainn.org/pdf-files-and-other-documents/Public-Policy/Issues/WomenStalkinginIran.pdf

Ireland

Non-Fatal Offences Against the Person Act, 1997 s10 Harassment

http://www.bailii.org/ie/legis/num_act/1997/0026.html#zza26y1997s10

Isle of Man

Protection from Harassment Act 2000. This is almost a direct copy of the UK Protection from Harassment Act 1997 and can be found at:

http://www.harassment-law.co.uk/law/manxact.htm

Israel

Law for the Prevention of Stalking (2001). At present we do not have a link to this legislation, although some basic information is available from the UN database on violence against women link below. If you know of an active link to the legislation, please contact us.

http://webapps01.un.org/vawdatabase/searchDetail.action?measureId=22936&baseHREF=country&baseHREFId=668

Italy

L. 23 aprile 2009, n. 38, “Misure urgenti in materia di sicurezza pubblica e di contrasto alla violenza sessuale, nonche’ in tema di atti persecutori”,

http://stalking.medlegmo.unimo.it/legislazione click on decreto 23febbraio 2009, 2011 (in Italian)

Courtesy Ms Chiara Sgarbi, Università di Modena e Reggio Emilia

Japan

Japan enacted a law in November 2000 prohibiting stalking in the context of an intimate relationship. The text of this law can be found at:

http://hourei.hounavi.jp/hourei/H12/H12HO081.php (in Japanese)

In 2013, Japanese media reported that the law had been revised following a murder case in which the victim had previously reported stalking via email to the police. An English-lanuage media account can be found at:

http://japandailypress.com/japan-toughens-anti-stalking-laws-includes-repeated-emailing-as-harassment-2731299/

Latvia

There is currently no anti-stalking law in Latvia. Details about how stalking may be dealt with are included in the Modena report into stalking in Europe, available at:

stalking.medlegmo.unimo.it/RAPPORTO_versione_finale_011007.pdf

Liechtenstein

According to the 2009 US State Department Human Rights report on Liechtenstein, stalking is a criminal offence in Liechtenstein. At present we do not have the title or link to the relevant legislation. If you know the details or an active link, please contact us.

Lithuania

There is currently no anti-stalking law in Lithuania. Details about how stalking may be dealt with are included in the Modena report into stalking in Europe, available at:

stalking.medlegmo.unimo.it/RAPPORTO_versione_finale_011007.pdf

Luxembourg

Code Pénal, Chap IV-2, Article 442-2 Harcèlement obsessionnel (obsessional harassment)

http://www.legilux.public.lu/leg/a/archives/2009/0134/a134.pdf#page=3 (in French)

Malta

Criminal Code, Article 251A Harassment and 251B Causing others to fear violence will be used against them. The Maltese Code is available in pdf from:

http://www.legislationline.org/documents/section/criminal-codes

Mongolia

The Law Fighting Against Domestic Violence 2004 has provisions prohibiting stalking in the context of a domestic relationship. However, the UN has expressed serious concerns about whether this law is being implemented in an effective way. No link to the 2004 legislation has been identified, however the 1999 draft legislation can be found here:

www.apwld.org/pdf/mongolia_NGO.pdf

 A 2004 discussion of the application of these laws is available from:

www.stopvaw.org/mongolia.html

Namibia

There is currently no anti-stalking law in Namibia. However, the Legal Assistance Centre in Windhoek has produced a document outlining other laws that may be relevant to stalking in that country. This can be downloaded from

www.lac.org.na/projects/grap/Pdf/mono3stalking.pdf.

The Netherlands

Weboek van Strafrecht (Penal Code), s285b

http://www.wetboek-online.nl/wet/Wetboek%20van%20Strafrecht/285b.html (in Dutch)

Some discussion of the law and of stalking in The Netherlands can be found in the article:

Van Der Aa, S., & Kunst, M. (2009). The Prevalence of Stalking in The Netherlands. International Review of Victimology, 16, 35-50.(available free online)

New Zealand

Harassment Act 1997

http://www.nzlii.org/nz/legis/consol_act/ha1997129/

Northern Ireland

Protection from Harassment Act 1997, s13 Corresponding Provision for Northern Ireland

http://www.bailii.org/uk/legis/num_act/1997/ukpga_19970040_en_1.html#pb3-l1g13

Norway

General Civil Penal Code, Chap. 39, s390a. If you know of a more up to date version of the Code in Norwegian, we would appreciate you contacting us with a link.

http://www.ub.uio.no/ujur/ulovdata/lov-19020522-010-eng.pdf (in English as at 2005)

Pakistan

Pakistan does not have a specific anti-stalking law. Domestic partner stalking was prohibited within domestic violence legislation passed by the National Assembly in August 2009. However, the Senate subsequently failed to pass this Bill and as at the end of 2011, it had not yet been re-presented. The original domestic violence legislation including a Pakistani definition of stalking can be found at:

www.na.gov.pk/passed_bill/domestic_violence2009.pdf

Cyberstalking is specifically prohibited in Pakistan in the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Ordinance 2007, s13:

www.fia.gov.pk/electronic_prevention_orde.pdf

Philippines

Penal Code, s282A-282C

www.senate.gov.ph/lisdata/26271991!.pdf

Poland

Poland introduced a stalking law on 6th June 2011. Penal Code Article 190a § 1, 2, 3 and 4.

http://www.arslege.pl/kodeks-karny/k1/s201/ (in Polish)

Courtesy of Ms Iwona Jabłońska, Wyszynski University in Warsaw

Scotland

Scotland traditionally policed stalking under its common law provisions for ‘breach of the peace’, with additional civil and criminal prohibitions against harassment in the Protection from Harassment Act (1997) (see United Kingdom entry).

However, in December 2010 the Scottish Parliament introduced a new offence of stalking as part of the Criminal Justice and Licensing (Scotland) Act 2010. This act also includes provisions for non-harassment orders. Text of the stalking provision can be found at:

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/asp/2010/13/section/39 

The entire Act is available at http://www.legislation.gov.uk/asp/2010/13/contents

Singapore

Singapore passed the Protection from Harassment Act in March 2014 after a number of years of consultation and consideration. This act deals with harassment and threatening behaviour of various types, and includes a section prohibiting ‘unlawful stalking’.

Text of the Act can be found at Singapore Statutes Online by searching for ‘Protection from Harassment’.

Discussion of the Act can be found in this article from the Singapore Academy of Law Journal.

Slovakia

There is currently no anti-stalking law in Slovakia. Details about how stalking may be dealt with are included in the Modena report into stalking in Europe, available at:

stalking.medlegmo.unimo.it/RAPPORTO_versione_finale_011007.pdf

Slovenia

Slovenia has no specific anti-stalking legislation. Details of other legislation that may be used in stalking situations can be found in the Manual for victims and helping professionals by searching for Slovenia:

http://stalking.medlegmo.unimo.it/manuale

South Africa

The South African Legislative Assembly passed the Protection from Harassment Bill in August 2011, providing for protection for women and men against harassment and including sections concerning protection orders and cyberstalking. The text of the Act can be found here:

www.info.gov.za/view/DownloadFileAction?id=156361

The South African Law Reform Commission report on stalking that pre-dates the new law can be found at:

http://www.saflii.org/za/other/zalc/ip/22/22-CHAPTER-2.html

Spain

Spain does not have an anti-stalking law and, as in many non-English speaking jurisdictions, there is no single Spanish word that captures the English concept of stalking. There has nonetheless been some academic interest in stalking. A brief Spanish review of the stalking literature by psychologist Garcia Averasturi is available at:

www.coplaspalmas.org/07biblio/social/social14.pdf (in Spanish)

A report on Cyberstalking by Dr Antonio Chacon of the University of Granada is available here:

http://www.ugr.es/~sevimeco/revistaeticanet/Numero1/Articulos/NUEVACARADEINTERNET.pdf (in Spanish)

Additional information is available in the Manual for victims and helping professionals by searching for Spain

http://stalking.medlegmo.unimo.it/manuale

Suriname

Suriname has no anti-stalking law, although at the Regional conference on Women in Latin America in November 2011, the Surinamese delegation reported that a Stalking Bill had been sent to Parliament for enactment. The report mentioning this can be found here:

www.eclac.cl/mujer/noticias/noticias/1/43711/Suriname.pdf

A brief report to the UN Committee on Gender Legislation in 2010 suggests that this draft law is specific to women and may be related to domestic violence. Mention of the draft law can be found in this report:

www.eclac.cl/mujer/noticias/paginas/8/36338/Suriname.pdf

Swaziland

The Swaziland government has been debating the Sexual Offences and Domestic Violence Bill throughout 2010 and it had not been enacted by the end of 2011. Section 10 of this Bill would prohibit unlawful stalking. The Bill is contentious as outlawing stalking is seen by some to interfere with the traditional custom of ‘Kusoma’ whereby courtship involves a man repeatedly asking a woman to marry him, and going to her home, workplace, or places of recreation to do so. Some discussion of both sides of this debate can be found here:

http://www.times.co.sz/News/22484.html

www.justgovernancegroup.org/en/swaziland/pdf/swaziland_dispatch_3.pdf

A human rights group update on the law in 2010 suggested that Section 10 would be removed from the final law due to the controversy, although it is unclear if this is the case:

www.justgovernancegroup.org/en/swaziland/pdf/swaziland_dispatch_3.pdf

Sweden

Sweden introduced an anti-stalking law on 1 October 2011. We are currently awaiting a link to the text of the law, which will be posted as soon as possible. Some media discussion (in English) in available from: 

www.thelocal.se/36482/20111002/ and www.thelocal.se/37638/20111129/

A discussion of stalking and relevant laws in Sweden that pre-dates the new legislation is available from:

http://www.bra.se/extra/measurepoint/?module_instance=4&name=Stalkingengslutred.pdf&url=/dynamaster/file_archive…(in English)

Switzerland

There is no specific anti-stalking law in Switzerland, although there is a Civil Code provision (Article 28b) that is intended to protect against harassment and offers the option of a restraining order. There were attempts to establish specific anti-stalking legislation in 2007 and 2008, but both failed. The Swiss Federal Council‘s discussion of why the motion failed is available here:

http://www.parlament.ch/d/suche/seiten/geschaefte.aspx?gesch_id=20083495 (in German and French).

Angela Guildimann, a colleague at Bern University has kindly provided an English discussion of the reasons that the motions were not passed and what the next few years might hold for Swiss stalking laws: Summary of Swiss Stalking Law Situation

A 2006 article discussing the Swiss approach to stalking laws is available from:

www.mdcs.ch/fileadmin/mdcs.ch/pdf/Publikationen/Stalking.pdf (in German)

Taiwan

Taiwan has no law preventing physical stalking. However, the “Revised Data Protection Act”, due to be implemented in early 2011, will reportedly prohibit Cyberstalking. This needs to be verified, so please contact us if you know of additional information. A 2010 Taipei media report on the issue is available here:

www.taipeitimes.com/News/editorials/archives/2010/09/11/2003482573

Tajikistan

The Tajikistan parliament failed to pass a bill prohibiting domestic violence (including stalking in the context of domestic relationships) in October 2010 and it had still not been passed by the end of 2011. The future of the legislation is unclear given that the bill was drafted in 2003 and has been in committees since that time.

Trinidad and Tobago

There is no specific anti-stalking or harassment law in Trinidad and Tobago, although some stalking behaviours may be policed under the Offences Against the Person (Amendment) (Harassment) Act, which came into force in June 2008. The text of the Act can be found here:

www.ttparliament.org/legislations/a2005-11.pdf and a relevant news article discussing the law here: www.newsday.co.tt/news/0,83520.html

It should be noted that a 2008 UNHCR discussion paper suggested that police enforcement of domestic violence and related laws (such as the above Act) is ‘lax’ (www.unhcr.org/refworld/publisher,IRBC,,TTO,49b92b211e,0.html).

Some discussion of relevant legislation in the country is also available in Jagessar & Sheridan (2004) who compared perceptions of stalking in Britain and Trinidad. The article is available from:

www.hawaii.edu/hivandaids/Stalking_Perceptions_and_Experiences_Across_Two_Cultures.pdf

Uganda

The Domestic Violence Act 2010 specifically prohibits harassment in the context of a current or former domestic relationship. A link to the specific legislation is required (please contact us if you know of one). Media discussion of the legislation as applicable to stalking is available at

http://www.newvisionuganda.info/D/8/20/733494

United Kingdom

Protection from Harassment Act, 1997 (see Scotland entry for further information about that jurisdiction).

http://www.bailii.org/uk/legis/num_act/1997/ukpga_19970040_en_1.html

This Act was amended in November 2012 after considerable lobbying and consultation about the inadequacies of the original harassment provisions. Note that the above link has the old version of the Act with a link to legislation.gov.uk where the amendments can be viewed. A lay person discussion of the amended Act and other issues relevant to prosecution of stalking in England and Wales can be found at:

http://www.cps.gov.uk/legal/s_to_u/stalking_and_harassment/

United States

Regularly updated links to Federal, state, and US territory and protectorate anti-stalking legislation can be found at the National Centre for Victims of Crime website:

http://www.victimsofcrime.org/our-programs/stalking-resource-center/stalking-laws