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Stalking, Intimidation, Harassment and Abuse (Qld)

Updated on Oct 17, 2023 4 min read 786 views Copy Link

Fernanda Dahlstrom

Published in Oct 27, 2016 Updated on Oct 17, 2023 4 min read 786 views

Stalking, Intimidation, Harassment and Abuse (Qld)

In February 2023, the Queensland parliament passed the Domestic and Family Violence Protection (Combating Coercive Control) and Other Legislation Amendment Act 2023. The Bill made changes to the Criminal Code 1899 and the Domestic and Family Violence Protection Act 2008 to bring them into line with current understandings of patterns of abusive behaviour. One of these changes was to rename the old offence of stalking as ‘stalking, intimidation, harassment and abuse’. This change was made to better reflect the role that such behaviour plays in a pattern of abusive conduct.

What is stalking, intimidation, harassment and abuse?

Under section 359B of the Criminal Code 1899, a person commits an offence if they engage in conduct that is intentionally directed at a person and would cause the person apprehension or fear of violence or that would cause a detriment to the person and consists of one or more acts of:

  • following, loitering near, watching or approaching a person;
  • contacting a person;
  • loitering near, watching, approaching or entering a place that a person lives, works or visits;
  • monitoring, surveilling or tracking a person without their consent;
  • leaving offensive material where it will be found by a person;
  • publishing offensive material in a way that will be found or brought to the attention of the person;
  • giving offensive material to a person;
  • an intimidating, harassing, threatening, or abusive act;
  • an act or threat of violence.

Penalties for stalking, intimidation, harassment and abuse

Under section 359E of the Criminal Code 1899, the maximum penalty for this offence depends on the circumstances.

If the offence does not involve any aggravating circumstances, the maximum penalty is five years imprisonment.

If the offence involves the use or threat of violence, or the possession of a weapon, or the contravention of an order, the maximum penalty is seven years imprisonment.

If the offence is committed in the context of a domestic relationship, the maximum penalty is seven years imprisonment.

If the offence is committed against a law enforcement officer because they are investigating the activities of a criminal organisation, the maximum penalty is 10 years imprisonment.

Matters that are not relevant to a charge

Under section 359C of the Criminal Code there are a number of factors that are immaterial for the purposes of determining whether an offence has been committed. It is immaterial whether or not the offender:

  • intended their behaviour to cause fear, apprehension or detriment;
  • whether fear, apprehension or detriment is actually caused;
  • whether the conduct consists of the same or different acts;
  • whether the conduct directed at the victim is carried out in relation to another person;
  • intends the victim to be aware that the conduct is directed at them or has a mistaken belief that the

Conduct that is not unlawful stalking

While the definition of this offence is quite broad, there are a number of activities which do not amount to an offence. Under section 359D, the Criminal Code, the following conduct does not amount to stalking, intimidation, harassment and abuse:

  • acts done in the execution of a law or administration of an Act or for a purpose authorised by an Act;
  • acts done for the purposes of a genuine industrial dispute;
  • acts done for the purposes of a genuine political or other genuine public dispute or issue carried on in the public interest;
  • reasonable conduct engaged in by a person for the person’s lawful trade, business or occupation;
  • reasonable conduct engaged in by a person to obtain or give information that the person has a legitimate interest in obtaining or giving.

If you require legal advice or representation in any legal matter, please contact Go To Court Lawyers.

Published in

Oct 27, 2016

Fernanda Dahlstrom

Content Editor

Fernanda Dahlstrom has a Bachelor of Laws from Latrobe University, a Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice from the College of Law, a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Melbourne and a Master of Arts (Writing and Literature) from Deakin University. Fernanda practised law for eight years, working in criminal defence, child protection and domestic violence law in the Northern Territory. She also practised in family law after moving to Brisbane in 2016.
Fernanda Dahlstrom

Fernanda Dahlstrom

Content Editor

Fernanda Dahlstrom has a Bachelor of Laws from Latrobe University, a Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice from the College of Law, a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Melbourne and a Master of Arts (Writing and Literature) from Deakin University. Fernanda practised law for eight years, working in criminal defence, child protection and domestic violence law in the Northern Territory. She also practised in family law after moving to Brisbane in 2016.

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