Physical or digital persecution is typified by Article 147-A of the Penal Code

Bill 1.369/19, passed by the Senate with no contrary vote, was sanctioned by President Jair Bolsonaro last Wednesday, March 31. The new law 14.132/2021 includes in the Brazilian Penal Code article 147-A, the crime of persecution, a practice popularly known as stalking.

The new crime is defined by the act of chasing someone, repeatedly and by any means (digital or physical), threatening their physical or psychological integrity, restricting their ability to move around or, in any way, invading or disturbing their sphere of freedom or privacy. The penalty is from six months to two years of imprisonment and may be increased if the crime is committed against children, adolescents, the elderly and women, by two or more people or with the use of a firearm. If there is another type of violence, the penalty of the offense will be added to that corresponding to the violent act.

Originally, the predicted penalty could be converted into a fine. The dosimetry was changed for one to four years by the Congress, transforming the modality into confinement, and cumulating the fine to the penalty. The Senate plenary decided to keep the imprisonment and the fine but disagreed about the length of the penalty.

The importance of the new typification was highlighted when citing data from the World Health Organization from 2017 that indicated Brazil as the country with the fifth highest rate of homicides against women per 100 thousand women worldwide and 76% are committed by people close to the victim. The pandemic moment has contributed to the increase in cases of violence against women within their homes, requiring a regulation on the subject.

The new article 147-A of the Penal Code also revoked article 65 of the law of misdemeanor (decree-law 3.688/41), which established that anyone who harasses someone or disturbs their tranquility, either by mistake or for a reprobable reason, would be subject to 15 days to two months of imprisonment or a fine.