Bulgaria’s Parliament approved the second and final reading of a series of amendments to the Protection Against Domestic Act, in a vote on July 21 that had been preceded by debating and voting on the amendments on July 5 and 19.
As approved, the amendments expand the categories of people who may seek protection under the act, to include all who have been the subject of domestic violence committed by someone who by law or by blood relation is a relative up to the fourth degree, including someone with whom they are in a common-law relationship, as well as someone who is a parental spouse or former spouse.
Protection will also be available when the violence is committed by someone entrusted with the care of the child.
The request for initiation of proceedings for the issuance of a protection order should be sent to the court within 24 hours from the moment the injured person files an application.
The amendments provide that an order for immediate protection of a person subjected to domestic violence will be executed immediately and served on the parties, with a copy being sent to the regional offices of the Interior Ministry and to the addresses of the perpetrator and that indicated by the person who has been subjected to domestic violence.
This immediate protection order will take effect on issuance and is not subject to appeal, unless a court amends the period of validity to extend it.
The amendments require the state to conduct a consistent policy against domestic policy by assessing and implementing policies and measures to prevent domestic abuse.
The amendments require the Interior Ministry to set up a national register of cases of paedophilia, committed in Bulgaria or in relation to Bulgarian citizens abroad who have sought help and support. The idea is to include in the register not only people convicted of paedophilia in Bulgaria, but also foreigners residing in Bulgaria and found guilty of the same act in other countries.
The ministry has a deadline of 12 months after the approval of the amendments to create the register.
The amendments entitle an employer to refuse to employ people convicted of paedophilia if the employer’s activities involve children.
The Bulgarian Parliament’s voting on the second reading of the amendments to the Prevention of Domestic Violence Act had been adjourned twice previously, after the House ran out of time allotted for the respective sittings. Voting on other matters, including legislation, resolutions and formal decisions, was held in the meantime, and the amendments returned to the House as Parliament held a marathon sitting on July 21 to clear the decks for voting on the Budget next week, ahead of the legislature’s summer recess.
(Photo: Fabrizio Turco/ freeimages.com)
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