EU: Proposed Protection Order in the European Parliament
Friday, June 4, 2010 11:25 AM

Several Member States of the European Union have proposed new collaborative legislation entitled The European Protection Order. The European Protection Order was drafted to offer domestic violence victims uniform protection throughout the European Union, regardless of which nation originally granted the order. Member States will be required to recognize both criminal and administrative or civil protective orders issued outside of their borders. This is meant to offer the greatest amount of protection to crime victims. The proposal does not harmonize the individual laws of the Member States, but rather mandates mutual recognition of the original order. If passed, this legislation will have a powerful impact. The use of protection orders with the E.U. is widespread. Over 100,000 women living in the E.U. have some form of protective measure against gendered violence.  
There are several objectives of the legislation. The drafters recognize that repeat offenses are common with gendered violence. Mechanisms must be created to prevent repeat victimization and protect crime victims when they cross nations’ borders. Although all E.U. Member States already have measures in place to protect crime victims, many are concerned that when these individuals cross state borders, protections will not remain in place. Advocates of the proposal feel the current system limits victims’ ability to move freely throughout the Union. If victims choose to leave a certain country, they will be without their pre-existing protection order.
The drafters used rights-based language in explaining the purpose of this new legislation. Crime victims have the “right to respect, reparation of the damage caused, punishment of the offender on the basis of a fair trial fully guaranteeing the rights of all parties… and an overriding right not to be the victims of another offence particularly by the same person.” Advocates of law state that the document does not infringe on the rights of the perpetrators. The procedural rights of the defense are maintained through this proposed law.
This proposal comes in the wake of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU). The 2008 Treaty provides that “the European Parliament and the Council, acting in accordance with the ordinary legislative procedure, shall adopt measures to facilitate cooperation between judicial or equivalent authorities of the Member States in relation to proceedings in criminal matters and the enforcement of decisions.”