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 updated November 2022). 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 Please note that many of these discussions are now out of date as almost all European countries have introduced some form of stalking law in response to the 2015 Istanbul Convention. Please check below in addition to reading the report.  Van Der Aa (2018) provides an open access overview 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:

https://www.thedailystar.net/opinion/perspective/news/saving-our-girls-stalkers-1676179 (article from 2018)


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

Penal Code s155

As of December 2018 there is also a Stalking (Civil Jurisdiction) Law providing for restraining orders and other civil mechanisms to stop stalking.

http://gazettes.gov.ky/portal/pls/portal/docs/1/12736490.PDF

Cyprus

Cyprus passed the Protection from Harrassment and Stalking Law (2021), providing both civil and criminal remedies. A discussion can be found here:

https://www.mondaq.com/cyprus/discrimination-disability-sexual-harassment/1199366/protection-from-harassment-and-stalking (in English)

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)

Eswatini

The Sexual Offences and Domestic Violence Act came into force in 2018 after many years of debate and drafting. Section 10 prohibits ‘unlawful stalking’. A summary of the provision can be found here:

https://www.southernafricalitigationcentre.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/SALC-New-Sexual-Offences-Legislation-SD-FINAL-WEB-version.pdf

Estonia

According to the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Estonia passed a law criminalising stalking and harassment in 2017. At present we do not have a link to that law. If you are aware of a link, please do let us know using the contact form.

France

France does not have an explicit law against stalking. However, a range of laws outlawing harassment of women and domestic violence have been introduced since 2014. This article provides a discussion of French laws approximating stalking laws (in French):

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0755498218301441?via%3Dihub

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 law was revised in in response to criticism in 2017, with both the original and later versions discussed in detail in this article (in English)

https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/german-law-journal/article/german-antistalking-legislation-and-its-recent-changes/E2C3E52DEBE156865F601981C4D6282A

Greece

As of 2021 there was no specific anti-stalking law in Greece. According to a 2021 review by law firm Baker McKenzie, stalking behaviour must be considered a crime under existing sections of the Greek Penal Code such as threat, harm to reputation through insults, or intruding into victims private sphere through monitoring or persecuting them (Article 333 of the Greek Penal Code).

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

While the Hong Kong Law Reform Commission recommended changes to existing law to prohibit stalking in 2000, a consultation process in 2012 came to nothing and in 2014 the government decided to abandon moves to criminalise stalking due to lack of agreement. As of 2022, there is no anti-stalking law in Hong Kong.

Hungary

Hungary amended the Criminal Code in 2012 and outlawed harassment that does not meet legal grounds for “a more serious offence”

Criminal Code s222

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.

A 2022 paper by Golamloo & Karami discussing the legal context for stalking in Iran can be downloaded here (in Persian).

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 2021 the law was revised further (after previously being revised in 2013), with a summary available here:

https://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20210619/p2a/00m/0op/017000c

Kenya

Stalking is prohibited under the Protection Against Domestic Violence Act 2015, as a form of domestic violence.

Latvia

According to the Latvian public broadcaster, a law against stalking was introduced in January 2018. At present we do not have a link to this law. If you are aware of a link, please let us know via the contact form.

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

Lithuania criminalised stalking in October 2021, in the Criminal Code of the Republic of Lithuania, Article 1481. A 2021 academic article (in Lithuanian) discussing the criminalisation can be found here (free open access)

https://www.journals.vu.lt/kriminologijos-studijos/article/view/27837

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

Malaysia

Malaysia passed an anti-stalking law through both houses of the Dewan Rakyat on October 3, 2022. We have been unable to locate the legislation online, however a discussion of it can be found here:

https://www.malaymail.com/news/malaysia/2022/10/03/anti-stalking-bill-passed-unanimously-in-parliament/31407

Mongolia

Mongolia implemented a new law against domestic violence in 2017 (replacing an ineffectual 2004 law), which includes psychological abuse and theoretically could be applied to stalking in context of a domestic relationship. The Domestic Violence Law can be found here (in Mongolian):

http://legalinfo.mn/law/details/12393

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 Stalking Act 2022

https://www.legislation.gov.uk/nia/2022/17/enacted

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 is outlawed in most states in Pakistan under domestic violence legislation. An overview can be found here:

https://hamarainternet.org/resources/laws-domestic-violence/

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

Stalking is outlawed under s360a of the Slovakian Criminal Code. At present we do not have a link to that Act. If you are aware of a link, please let us know through the contact form.

Slovenia

Slovenia outlawed stalking in 2015 as a form of domestic violence, though it does not appear to have been criminalised in other contexts. The relevant text is Article 191 of the Slovenian Criminal Code.

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

Stalking was outlawed in Spain in 2015, through the introduction of Criminal Code article 172b

This article by Fernández-Cruz, Agustina & Ngo (2021) provides some discussion of the Spanish law (in English, open access)

Suriname

Suriname passed a stalking law in 2012, though at present we do not have a link to the law itself. Please let us know if you are aware of one. Some discussion of the in local media can be found here

Sweden

Sweden introduced an anti-stalking law on 1 October 2011 in the Criminal Code, Part 2, Chap 4 s4b

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

The Stalking and Harassment Prevention Act came into effect in June 2022

https://law.moj.gov.tw/ENG/LawClass/LawAll.aspx?pcode=D0080211

Tajikistan

Although Tajikistan outlawed family violence in 2013, this statute does not include stalking or harassment. 

Trinidad and Tobago

There is no specific anti-stalking 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

Uganda has also criminalised behaviour that could amount to cyberstalking under the Computer Misuse Act (2011). See discussion here.

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

Stalking or harassment is a crime in all US states and territories and the District of Columbia, as well as being a Federal crime if it crosses State borders under 18 U.S.C. 2261A Interstate Stalking (1996; 2000; 2006; 2013)

For local state laws, please see State government websites.