- § 1. Who, by persistent harassment of another person or a person close to them, arouses in them justified by circumstances a sense of threat, humiliation or torment or significantly violates their privacy, is punishable by imprisonment from 6 months to 8 years.
- § 2. The same punishment shall be imposed on anyone who, impersonating another person, uses his image, other personal data or other data by means of which he is publicly identified in order to cause him material or personal damage.
- § 3. If the consequence of the act specified in § 1 or 2 is the victim's targeting of his own life, the perpetrator shall be subject to the penalty of the deprivation of liberty for a term of between 2 and 12 years.
- § 4. Prosecution of the offense specified in § 1 or 2 takes place at the request of the injured party.
Included in art. 190a, the type of crime commonly referred to as stalking (stalker), is one of the newest in our criminal law. Introduced by the Act of On February 25, 2011, it entered into force on June 6. This regulation was a response to more and more frequent situations in which a given behavior was perceived as extremely burdensome and troublesome life, and yet law enforcement was powerless due to the lack of applicable regulations clearly penalizing such activities. This crime is punishable by up to 3 years imprisonment.
Stalking itself is defined as physical or virtual approaching a person (persecuted), obtrusive communication with him against the will, formulating threats, making undesirable suggestions, declarations, and often also the intrusion of family and loved ones. Very often, elements of stalking are also peeping, tracking, long-term observation of the home or workplace. The verb mark contained in the recipe, namely "harassment" is understood as "constant harassment, distress, disturbing (something) of someone, teasing someone, not giving peace" ("Universal Dictionary of the Polish Language" edited by S. Dubisz, PWN 2003 In the light of the applicable regulations, in order for behavior to be considered stalking, this harassment must be persistent, and must arouse the justified sense of threat of humiliation or torment or significantly violate privacy. According to the established case-law regarding the aspect of "persistence", talking about its fulfillment, considerable duration is required, as well as the awareness that the behavior violates the adopted legal order or the principles of social coexistence. Therefore, one cannot speak of persistence in the case of several unwanted calls or a single invasion. torment and serious privacy violation To a large extent subjective are subjective categories - there may be very large differences between individuals regarding what they fear, and we also define the limits of our privacy differently. It should be noted, however, that a certain objectifying element has also been introduced in the form of "justification by circumstances" of the mentioned feeling of threat, humiliation or torment.
Very important from the procedural point of view is the regulation of § 4, specifying the prosecution procedure as motive. Pursuant to the provisions of the Code of Criminal Procedure, preparatory proceedings for such crimes are conducted by public authorities (police, prosecutor), however, the action of the injured party is required, or, if he or she is a minor, its legal representatives.
§ 3 regulates the so-called qualified type, i.e. circumstances in which the offense is punishable by a higher penalty. In the case of stalking, this is the case if a persecuted person (or victim of an offense under § 2) torments his own life. In this case, you will be punished from 2 to 12 years in prison.
Stalking can easily be considered a crime of the era of electronic communication. A significant part of the actions of the harassing person is related to the use of related resources - very large amounts of SMSs, emails and the like. With this in mind, the legislator decided to include in § 2 another offense characteristic of electronic communication methods, namely impersonation for the purpose of causing harm. This crime often occurs in the use of websites and other means enabling the sending of e-mail or SMS pretending to be another sender.
[Legal status as at April 2020]