Law Journal


People are filing court cases for persistent harassment. Unfortunately, the legal fight against them is very difficult.  Most cases are discontinued and closed.


Yesterday, 50-year-old Robert W. was to be held responsible for harassing 39-year-old Katarzyna B. Just before the hearing in the Łódź District Court, the man poured sulfuric acid on the face of his victim. The woman was taken to the hospital and the stalker into custody.


This is a drastic example of what harassers can subject their victims to. But it is not an isolated matter at all. In recent months, there were several high-profile examples of stalking. Actress Małgorzata Foremniak and Robert Kozyra, former head of Radio ZET, have both managed to win their cases in courts with "psychofans". 


A case in which a stalker was impersonating a former judge of the Constitutional Tribunal Professor Ewa Łętowska on social media was closed because her harasser has died.


But celebrities are not the only victims of harassment. For example, an police employee from Ostróda who was harassed, touched and solicited by her superior, who retired shortly after the abuse was exposed.  This however did not save him from being sentenced to four months in prison, and suspended for two years.

– Since the criminalisation of stalking in 2011, the number of cases brought and the awareness and recognition of this crime among the representatives of the judiciary has been growing – emphasises attorney Barbara Szopa, author of the blog stalking.com.pl, who specialises in helping victims of persistent harassment. This is clearly noticeable in the latest data from the Ministry of Justice.  In 2015, more than a thousand people were convicted of such crimes for the first time, of whom almost a hundred were sentenced to unconditional imprisonment.


– However, this is only but a small part when compared to the scale of this type of phenomena in our country, e.g. sentences for acts from art. 190a §2 of the Polish Penal Code, i.e. for impersonating. Last year, there were only 47 sentences for this type of offence, and my law firm received even more such filings. Especially, since social media made impersonation much easier, so as a result there is an uprise of this kind of stalking – adds attorney Szopa and explains that, unfortunately, most victims of harassment still have serious problems with proving guilt of the offenders.


According to police data, in 2015 there were as many as 6697 preparatory proceedings for art. 190 of the Polish Criminal Code. But what is even more disturbing is that every sixth of these cases ended in discontinuation due to the failure to unravel the perpetrator (1139), and even more - as many as 2846, were discontinued due to lacking aspects of criminal offense. Despite this, as many as 3457 stalking offences were discovered in 2015. This year, the result will probably be even higher, because in the first seven months as many as 2,342 such crimes were reported.  For comparison, here are police statistics for previous years: 2,700 in 2011, 2,900 in 2012 and 3,200 in 2013.


– "Yes, many of these cases take a really long time in the court, but as you can see, the number of those convicted is very small. The main reason? The methods of the harasser' conduct are becoming more and more difficult to assess and track down – says attorney Szopa.


Many victims resign and give up the fight. "But many also come to us and seek professional help in order to track down the stalker or, if they already know who he is – because they are often very close people – to collect evidence of their  activities.  With this kind of proof, the victims have a better chance of winning in the courtroom – argues Wiesław Jan Modrakowski, head of the Expertus detective agency and the Polish Association of Licensed Detectives. "We have more and more of such cases. New technologies such as the Internet and social media, became very useful tools for harassers. This type of harassment is sometimes disregarded by the judiciary system, hence it is nothing out of the ordinary that people are looking for help – explains Modrakowski



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