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What is the Offence of Stalking and Intimidation? The offence of stalking, as defined in section 13 of the Crimes (Domestic and Personal Violence) Act 2007 (NSW) is a serious matter carrying a maximum penalty of 5 years imprisonment and/or a fine of $5,500. In cases where the matter remains within the Local Court, the maximum penalty is reduced to 2 years imprisonment instead of being heard at the District Court. For the purpose of this section:

  • Causing a person to fear physical or mental harm includes inducing fear in the person for the safety and well-being of another person with whom they share a domestic relationship.
  • A person has the intention of causing fear of physical or mental harm if they are aware that their conduct is likely to make the other person fearful.
  • The prosecution is not required to prove that the alleged victim actually experienced fear of physical or mental harm.
  • An attempt to commit the offence is enough to establish guilt.
The Act defines 'Intimidation' in section 7 to include:
  • Conduct such as harassment, molestation, and even cyberbullying.
  • Any communication, be it through telephone, text messaging, email, or other technological means, that causes the victim to fear for their safety.
  • Any conduct that creates a reasonable apprehension of injury, violence or damage to the victim or their property, or someone with whom they have a domestic relationship.
When determining if the defendant has engaged in intimidatory conduct, the court can take into account a pattern or course of conduct, rather than focusing solely on isolated incidents. What is stalking? Stalking, as defined under section 8 of the Crimes (Domestic and Personal Violence) Act 2007 (NSW), encompasses a range of behaviours aimed at causing fear, harassment, or intimidation to a specific individual. These behaviours include:
    • 1. Following a person around - This may involve tracking their movements or deliberately appearing at locations where they go.
  2. Observing or frequenting places near a person's residence, business, workplace, or places they visit for social or leisure activities, with the intent to monitor or intimidate them. 3. Contacting or approaching a person using the internet or any other technologically assisted means, including sending unwanted messages, emails or any form of online harassment. To determine if a person’s conduct amounts to stalking, the court may consider any pattern of violent behaviour exhibited by the individual, especially if it constitutes a domestic violence offence. This broader perspective ensures that a history of violence or harassment is taken into account when assessing whether stalking has occurred. Examples of behaviours that courts have deemed to be stalking include: 1. Continuously calling or sending text messages to the targeted person, even after being explicitly asked not to contact them. 2. Loitering at places where the targeted person goes, even though the defendant does not typically frequent those locations. 3. Persistently posting on the targeted person's social media account despite being told not to do so. 4. Sending unwanted gifts or packages to the person who has clearly expressed their disinterest. 5. Repeatedly visiting the targeted person's home or workplace, surveilling them, or driving past these premises repeatedly without a valid reason.   What does the Prosecution Need to Prove? To establish the charge of stalk or intimidate with intent to cause fear of physical of mental harm, as outlined in section 13 of the Crimes (Domestic and Personal Violence) Act (NSW), the prosecution must establish the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt:
    • 1. The alleged behaviour occurred.
    • 2. The person's conduct aligns with the legal criteria of stalking or intimidation.
    3. The person’s conduct was carried out with the specific intention to cause fear.
The Act further clarifies the following provisions in this context:
  • To cause fear of physical or mental harm extends to situations where the fear is directed not only towards the individual but also towards someone with whom they share a domestic relationship.
  • Intent to cause fear of physical or mental harm can be attributed to the accused if they were aware that their behavior was likely to instill fear in the victim.
  • Even an attempt to commit this offence is punishable, and the law treats it as if the offence had been successfully committed.

Frequently Asked Questions

Click on the options below to learn the answers to frequently asked questions about Stalking and Intimidation.

In NSW, the penalties for the offence of stalking or intimidation causing fear of physical or mental harm are significant. The maximum punishment for stalking or intimidation causing fear of physical or mental harm is imprisonment for up to 5 years and/or a fine of 50 penalty units, which currently amounts to $5,500. In cases where the matter remains within the Local Court, the maximum penalty is reduced to 2 years imprisonment instead of being heard at the District Court.

It is crucial to understand that the court exercises its discretion in determining the appropriate penalties for this offence, which may include:


1.  Section 10 Dismissal: The court may dismiss the charge without imposing any further penalties.
2.  Conditional Release Order: You are to be placed on a good behaviour bond and adhere to specified conditions imposed by the court.
3.  Fine: A monetary penalty may be imposed.
4.  Community Correction Order: You are to be placed on a good behaviour bond for a period of time with specified conditions and this may include community service and/or supervision.
5.  Intensive Corrections Order: A term of imprisonment be served in the community.
6.  Full-time imprisonment

Various defences can be used in cases of stalking or intimidation. Some common defences include:

1. Lack of intention: It can be argued that the accused did not have the specific intention to cause the victim to fear physical or mental harm. By demonstrating that the alleged conduct was not carried out with the deliberate purpose of instilling fear may serve as a viable defence.

2. Consent: If the victim consented to or encouraged the behaviour in question, the defence may contend that the accused’s actions were not unlawful since they were carried out with the victim’s consent.

3. Self Defence: In some cases, you may seek to argue that your actions were in response to perceived threats, or acts of aggression from the alleged victim. This defence asserts that you acted in self-defence to protect yourself from harm.

4. Duress: If you were subjected to real or implied threats that compelled you to commit the offence.

5. Necessity: The circumstances forced you to commit the offence in order to prevent even more severe consequences.

It is essential to understand that the availability and success of these defences can vary depending on the specific circumstances of each case.

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