11 cases started since introduction of anti-stalking law

Since anti-stalking laws were introduced January 2018, the State Police have started eleven cases over the offence. 

Stalking is a crime that can lead to short-term imprisonment, community service or fine. It is defined as repeated threatening behavior that induces fear within the victim; like repeatedly following the victim and messaging them on social networks.

Stalking has been criminalized in several EU states, like Austria, Denmark, the Czech Republic, Germany and elsewhere. 

Before the law was introduced, police received complaints about such actions but could not do anything.

"It must be said that, previously, people were not legally protected from stalking," police representative Gita Gžibovska told Latvian Radio April 24. 

Anti-stalking legislation was introduced as part of the recommendations set forth in the Istanbul Convention, a Council of Europe initiative that aims to reduce levels of violence against women.

"It's often [carried out] by a man who wants a relationship with a woman who does not want it. It's not rare that there had been relations between the stalker and the victim," said Gžibovska. 

Police say that victims can turn to the police if they have objective reasons to think they or their family can be harmed.

"For example, if there's information that the stalker had earlier acted in a violent manner or has carried out violent criminal acts. The same goes for cases when the stalker has objective motives to threaten the victim, such as revenge, jealousy or greed," she said.  

Eleven cases have been started over the offence since January 2018 and one of these has been sent to the prosecutor. 

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