Community stalking, what it is and how to defend yourself

Crime that falls within the ambit of art. 612-bis of the Penal Code (persecutory acts), is punished with up to 4 years’ imprisonment

Deciding to move house because a neighbor engages in such harassing and persecutory behavior as to become unsustainable. It seems impossible, but unfortunately it can happen. However, the risk, for those who carry out similar persecutory acts, is to be convicted, both in criminal and civil proceedings, when the crime of condominium stalking takes place. In Rome, in a recent sentence, a woman was sentenced to 9 months’ imprisonment, as well as the payment of court costs and a provisional payment of 1,000 euros. But that’s not all because, as regards the damages suffered by the victim, it will be determined separately. The crime of condominium stalking falls within the ambit of art. 612-bis of the Penal Code (Persecuting acts): “Unless the fact constitutes a more serious crime, anyone who, with repeated conduct, threatens or harasses someone in such a way as to cause a persistent and serious state of anxiety or fear or to generate a well-founded fear for one’s own safety or that of a close relative or a person linked to the same by an emotional relationship or to force the same to alter one’s life habits “, it reads.

“The neighbor yelled at my client, insulted her, threw excrement in front of her door – explains Paolo Raglione, the condominium’s lawyer who filed the lawsuit – These behaviors caused her such stress that she was forced to move house”. “We must realize that this form of stalking is no less serious than the ones we know – continues the lawyer – Having a neighbor who constantly insults you and yells at you in a place, your home, where you should feel safer , creates such a disturbance of mind that it must be condemned”. “In this case, let’s say luckily, my client was renting and she was able to move house, but let’s imagine if the apartment had been her property”, underlines Raglione.

In the sentence of the judge of the X criminal section of the court of Rome we read: “The existence of all the constituent elements of stalking is noted, since T. has put in place a series of harassing behaviors that have generated a state of anxiety in the offended person and fear, and forced to change even his own habits until it was transferred”. “The offended person reported that such behaviors made her anxious and disturbed, she was forced to keep the blinds closed to prevent the defendant from looking at her inside her apartment and, when she saw her returning to her home, she waited for her to enter first of her she; moreover, she could not invite anyone because she shouted that the house was abusive and that she had to leave, always appealing to her with insulting epithets “, we still read.

“The impotence in the face of these behaviors is incredible, because you can’t escape except by going home – underlines the lawyer Raglione – In this case then there weren’t even triggering reasons, no previous disputes. From the day my client moved there, the neighbor started harassing her with this violence both verbally and physically, which lasted for more than a year”.

But how can we defend ourselves? “Once the tolerability threshold has been exceeded and the perpetrator of these behaviors warned against ceasing his conduct, it is necessary to report and call the police forces to intervene – says the lawyer – But it is essential that the victim collects evidence of the facts through recordings, photos and above all have third parties attend the events if you continue”.