Europe: New European Union Regulation Would Extend Coverage of Protection Orders
Friday, May 24, 2013 10:35 AM

On May 22, 2013, the European Commission voted to approve a regulation to extend the coverage of protection orders for victims of gender-based violence. The aim is to make protection orders recognized throughout the European Union in order to ensure victim safety throughout the region. Protective order certificates will still be issued by the state in which the protection order was granted but will be available online at no cost in order to further simplify the process of transferring it from one member state to the next. The certificate holder must then notify the that member state’s police for the order to go into effect. The person against whom the protective order has been filed will also be made aware that it extends throughout the EU. The protective order certificates will be multilingual and uniform throughout the region and will include detailed information about the victim’s aggressor.
The proposal only covers civil cases but comes on the tail of a criminal law victims’ rights directive that the Commission passed in November. The two instruments will work in tandem and are part of a set of recent laws that focus on victim protection. The next step in the process is for member states to agree to the regulation and integrate it into their national laws. The projected date of implementation is 2015. The Commission will monitor member states to ensure implementation and enforcement of the regulation and will provide expert assistance and implementation guidelines. Although some of the euro-deputies were disappointed with certain aspects of the regulation, such as disagreements on how to define the crime of violence against women, the Commission is optimistic about the success of the recent proposals.
Compiled from: Nielsen, Nikolaj, “Victims of Violence Set for EU-wide Protection,” EUobserver (22 May, 2013).