European Parliament approves EU-wide civil law protection for victims

© European Union - European Parliament/MEP Antoniya Parvanova

© European Union – European Parliament/MEP Antoniya Parvanova

EP Press Release – Victims of stalking, harassment or gender-based violence who are granted protection in one member state will get equivalent protection if they move or travel to another, without having to go through time-consuming formalities, thanks to a new law passed by Parliament on Wednesday. These civil law rules complement the European Protection Order, which already provides similar protection under criminal law.

The regulation, to apply directly in all member states, will ensure that protection granted in one is maintained when the victim moves or travels to another. It will also simplify the application procedure for protection, by removing all today’s intermediate formalities.

“We must make applying for protection more straightforward for victims, so that they are protected whenever they travel or move to another member state” said Antonyia Parvanova (ALDE, BG), Parliament’s co-rapporteur on the civil law protection regulation. “Ensuring that victims of gender-based violence can obtain specialist support services from properly-trained officials anywhere in the EU is an important part of this protection”, she added.

Co-rapporteur Antonio López- Istúriz (EPP, ES) said: “We want to make sure that any victim of crime can get protection and still move freely throughout the EU. This will allow us to strengthen the area of freedom, security and justice in the union. I am proud that we can offer better and safer future, especially to women and children”.

This regulation on civil matters, covering threats to people’s physical and psychological integrity, including threats to personal liberty, security and sexual integrity, complements the European Protection Order (EPO) Directive on criminal matters. Together, the two instruments will cover the broadest possible range of protection measures taken by member states.

No time-consuming procedures

To ensure that the protection is recognised and enforced throughout the EU, the regulation includes a standard multilingual certificate, which gives all the essential information. Using this certificate should keep translation costs to a minimum, so that in most cases there will be no extra costs for the protected person.

The resolution was passed by 602 votes to 23, with 63 abstentions.

Next steps

Once it is formally approved by the Council of Ministers, the regulation will apply from 11 January 2015. Denmark will not be participating.

Copyright: European Parliament

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