Skip to main content
The Danish Center of Psychotraumatology

Stalking and digital harrasment

In Denmark, it is very difficult to get convicted of digital stalking and nearly impossible for victims to get a restraining order against a digital stalker.

¨October 24 2016, the Danish newspaper, “Politiken” wrote an article about stalking. Read it here

What started as a man who got angry at a woman, resulted in a 19-year-old girl and her family being subject to digital harassment and stalking over a period of 3 months. The stalking began with threatening text messages to the mother, and subsequently to the 14-year-old son and the 19-year-old daughter. The stalker watched their house, school, and work causing anxiety in the family who ended up barricading themselves inside their house because they were afraid to go outside.

The stalking intensified and went from digital stalking to include several dead cats on the family’s front yard, and diesel poured all over their car. Even though the family did as the police instructed and avoided blocking the stalker’s number so the text messages could be used as evidence, none of it has led to neither a conviction nor a restraining order against the stalker.

The National Centre for Psychotraumatology has conducted several studies on stalking. The study “With the child as hostage – stalking of mothers” includes a survey of people age 18-74 where 8,9% of the 6405 interviewed had been subject to stalking at some point in their lives. 63% of them were women, and 37% had been stalked by an unknown stalker.

This study thus suggests that a large part of the Danish population has been subject to some kind of stalking; a problem that can have severe consequences for the stalked person as well as their family. In the article, the writer writes that, “even though the harassment has stopped, we constantly worry about what his next move might be and if the nightmare will start again. The thought of others going through the same thing, and many for longer periods of time, maybe years, is unbearable. And the worst part is that stalking and digital harassment is not treated as a criminal offense in Denmark today”. This point is also evident in the report conducted by the National Centre where 69% of the interviewed had varying degrees of depression.

In March 2012, a law regarding restraining orders, residence permits and expulsion became effective. This law, however, does not make stalking punishable but merely registers it as an aggravating circumstance for breach of either a restraining order, a residence permit, or an expulsion.

Several measures have been taken towards being able to punish stalkers. August 31, The Ministry of Justice sent out a proposal for a bill with a hearing the September 28. The bill includes seven proposed measures meant to optimize the efforts against stalking. You can read more about them here.

Editing was completed: 05.10.2016