The Differences and Lines of Continuity Between the Crime of Stalking and that of Abuse Within the Family After Amendment of the Second Paragraph of Article 612-bis of the Italian Penal Codeby the So-Called Law on Femicide
With Article 1, paragraph 3, letter (a) Legislative Decree No. 93/2013, converted with amendments by Law No. 119/2013, the legislature has extended the aggravating circumstance referred to in Article 612-bis, paragraph 2 of the Italian Penal Code, previously limited to harassing conduct carried out outside of the family context, to stalking committed by a spouse during the marriage and by a person "actually" connected to the victim by way of an emotional relationship. Under the old rules, the conflict between the crime of abuse within the family and that of stalking, made by a spouse during the marriage or by a partner in the context of a emotional relationship, was easily resolved: the subsidiarity clause expressly provided for in the beginning of Article 612-bis of the Italian Penal Code entailed, in fact, the incorporation of the stalking actions existing "within the family setting" into the crime of abuse, inasmuch as it is a more serious crime. The aggravated allegation the crime of stalking pursuant to Article 612-bis, paragraph 2 of the Italian Penal Code, now encompasses all marital relationships or emotional relationships which not only exited previously but which also presently exist. As a result, the issue of the correlation between the crime of abuse and that of stalking, in the event that a spouse or partner commits the action, appears more complex; specifically, the distinction between the two cases is a problem. In fact, displays of aggression or harassing conduct and stalking carried out within the framework of the family (or that which is similar) may manifest in, at the same time, the criminal offense of aggravated stalking under the second paragraph of Article 612-bis of the Italian Penal Code and the structural features typical of the criminal event pursuant to Article 572 of the Italian Penal Code.