European Commission proposal to protect victims of domestic violence EU-wide to become law

Victims of violence, in particular domestic violence, will be able to count on EU-wide protection, the European Commission said on February 19 2013 after the European Parliament and the Council of Ministers reached a political agreement on a proposal by the European Commission for an EU-wide protection order.

The agreement – which comes after a trilogue meeting between the European Commission and the two co-legislators (European Parliament, and the Council of Ministers) – means women who have suffered domestic violence will be able to rely on a restraining order obtained in their home country wherever they are in the EU. Such protection is in particular vital for many women in Europe: around one in five have suffered physical violence at least once in their life, according to surveys.

The draft regulation will now pass to the European Parliament and the Council to be formally finalised. The Commission proposed the Regulation on mutual recognition of protection measures in civil matters as part of a package of measures to improve victims’ rights

The Victims Directive – which sets out minimum rights for crime victims wherever they are in the EU – is already in the European statute book. Both instruments will also complement the European Protection Order of December 13 2011, which ensures free circulation of criminal law protection measures throughout Europe.

The February 19 2013 agreement is a major step towards closing protection gaps for victims of domestic violence who want to exercise their right to free movement in the EU, the European Commission said.

“Women who have suffered violence in their home do not want strategies – they want concrete rules they can rely on. With today’s agreement on the European Protection Order this is exactly what we are delivering. The new rules will ensure that victims of domestic violence are protected Europe-wide,” said Vice-President Viviane Reding, EU’s Justice Commissioner. “I would like to thank the European Parliament for its strong and very vocal support for the Commission’s proposal, and in particular the co-rapporteurs Mr Antonio López-Istúriz and Mrs Antonyia Parvanova. I hope that the Parliament and the Council will now swiftly adopt the European Protection Order to ensure victims of domestic violence can feel safe, no matter where they are in Europe.”

Ministers in the Justice Council will discuss the draft regulation at their meeting on March 8. It is then expected to pass to the European Parliament for a plenary vote in April, before being finalised at the Justice Council in June. Once the Regulation is adopted and published in the EU’s Official Journal, the focus will move to implementation and ensuring that EU countries put in place both, the regulation and the directive on victims’ rights so that victims of crime and victims of violence can benefit from protection in their everyday lives, the Commission said.

(Photo: Päivi Tiittanen)




The Sofia Globe staff

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