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European protection order — supporting crime victims EU-wide

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European protection order — supporting crime victims EU-wide

SUMMARY OF:

Directive 2011/99/EU — European protection order

SUMMARY

WHAT DOES THE DIRECTIVE DO?

  • It allows victims of violence, notably domestic violence and stalking, to continue to enjoy protection from offenders when they move to another EU country.
  • It sets out rules allowing a judge or equivalent authority in one EU country to issue a European protection order when the protected person moves to another EU country.
  • It works in tandem with Regulation (EU) No 606/2013 which introduces a simple process of certification so that an order issued in one EU country can be quickly and easily recognised in another.

KEY POINTS

To issue a European protection order, there must be an existing national protection measure in place in that EU country that imposes one or more of the following bans or restrictions on the person causing the protected person danger:

  • a ban on entering certain places or defined areas where the protected person lives or visits,
  • a ban or a limit on contact, in any form, with the protected person, including by phone, electronic or ordinary mail, fax or any other means; or
  • a ban or restriction on approaching the protected person closer than a set distance.

Issuing an order

There are several conditions including that:

  • the protected person decides to live or stay, or already lives or stays, in another EU country,
  • the protected person themselves requests the order,
  • the person causing danger has the right to be heard and to challenge the protection measure, if they did not have the right to do so before the adoption of the original protection measure.

The order can be requested in either the EU country where the protected person currently lives or stays (executing country) or the one in which the order will be issued (issuing country).

Non-recognition of an order

The executing country can refuse to recognise an order for a number of reasons including:

  • the order is not complete or has not been completed within the time-frame set out by the executing country,
  • the protection measure relates to an act which is not a criminal offence in the executing country,
  • the protection measure does not impose one or more of the bans or restrictions set out above

If the executing country refuses to recognise the order they must:

  • inform promptly the protected person and the issuing country that the order has not been recognised and told the reasons why,
  • inform the protected person about the possibility of requesting a protection measure under its national law,
  • inform the protected person of any grounds of appeal against the decision under its national law.

Enforcing an order

The executing country is responsible for taking and enforcing measures to carry out the order. If the order is breached it can:

  • impose criminal penalties and any other measure if the breach is a criminal offence in that country,
  • take any non-criminal decisions related to the breach,
  • take any urgent and temporary measure to end the breach prior to any subsequent decision by the issuing country.

FROM WHEN DOES THE DIRECTIVE APPLY?

It entered into force on 10 January 2012. EU countries had to incorporate it into their national law by 11 January 2015.

BACKGROUND

See ‘Victims’ on the European Commission's Justice website.

ACT

Directive 2011/99/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 13 December 2011 on the European protection order (OJ L 338, 21.12.2011, pp. 2–18)

RELATED ACTS

Regulation (EU) No 606/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 12 June 2013 on mutual recognition of protection measures in civil matters (OJ L 181, 29.6.2013, pp. 4–12)

last update 25.01.2016

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