Here is the situation.

I still live with my family like my brother (we are both of legal age) . We never had a good brother relationship. We always try to avoid each other as best as we can. In the past there where several incidents where he would unallowed just enter my room and steal some of my money or my things. Because of that our parents gave us different keys for our bedrooms. Everything worked fine. And nothing like that ever happend again. We are both a little bit on the aggressive side. After a very heated and very aggressive dispute which involved a girl we both are on the verge of fighting each other. My parents are on vacation and I thought that there could be no better time for me and my new girlfriend to also leave and travel somewhere nice. My worries are now that he could break into my room while I’m gone. So my question. If he breaks into my room...could I take some kind of legal action? I wouldn’t do it. I just want to know if I could take legal actions. Because if I could, I would let him know that to scare him off. If He knows that I could take legal actions against him for breaking into my room, then he wouldn’t do it.

Thank you for reading everything and sorry for my bad English.


2 Answers 2


In Germany, there is no statutory offense of “breaking in”. Instead, break-ins are (depending on the nature of the crime) prosecuted as trespassing (Hausfriedensbruch, § 123 StGB), criminal damage (Sachbeschädigung, § 303 StGB) and/or theft (Diebstahl, § 242 StGB). (Some cases may fit additonal statutory offenses, e. g. tampering with an electronic lock can be computer fraud (Computerbetrug, § 263a StGB) and hurting someone can be robbery (Raub, § 249 StGB) and/or personal injury (Körperverletzung, § 223 StGB).)

This means: If your brother breaks the lock, then that's vandalism. If your brother walks in (without authorization), it's trespassing and if your brother steals your stuff, it's stealing.

On top of that, since your brother is living in the same household as you, breaking into your room may also be considered domestic violence. The violence protection act (Gewaltschutzgesetz) is very harsh when it comes to domestic violence: The offender can be ordered by court to hand over their home to the victim and to stay away from the home. This means that if your brother breaks into your room, your brother may be removed from the house by court order.

Non-compliance with a court order issued under the Gewaltschutzgesetz (e. g. your brother tries to show up at your house after he was ordered to stay away), can be prosecuted under civil and(!) penal law.

You can read the English translation of the German penal code (STrafgesetzbuch, StGB) here (although I prefer to use German because all translations at gesetze-im-internet.de tend to be low quality): https://www.gesetze-im-internet.de/englisch_stgb/englisch_stgb.html

And the Violence protection act is here (unfortunately untranslated): https://www.gesetze-im-internet.de/gewschg/BJNR351310001.html

  • 1
    In English legal terminology "vandalism" is more formally known as "criminal damage". Mar 6, 2020 at 9:59
  • Looks like you're right; “Criminal damage” is also the term used by the English translation of the penal code. Do you know the correct term for Körperverletzung? Would “Bodily harm” be a good translation? Or should I stick to “personal injury”?
    – erebus
    Mar 6, 2020 at 10:49
  • English law has several terms and the mapping from German law is probably complicated. "Bodily harm" seems like a good translation, though English law divides it into "actual bodily harm" and the more serious "grievous bodily harm". en.wikipedia.org/wiki/… Mar 6, 2020 at 11:59

Ordinarily, if someone breaks into your residence, you can involve the police because the person trespassed on your property, i.e. entered and remained without permission. The law is concerned with who the property owner is -- that could be your parents, or you if you are renting an apartment from a landlord (your parents). You need to consult an attorney, revealing the specifics of your situation, but it does not look like you have the relevant standing to get the police involved in a trespassing case. You parents can take whatever action they want.

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