Thursday, 7 March 2013

Questions (185)

Nicky McFadden


185. Deputy Nicky McFadden asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the way the recently secured agreement with the European Parliament on improving the protection of victims of domestic violence across Europe will enable victims and other vulnerable persons to have continuity of protection under the law when they move between Member States; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12150/13]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

The agreement the Deputy refers to is an agreement on a Proposal for a Regulation on mutual recognition of protection measures in civil matters, also known as European Protection Order (Civil) or EPO civil. This proposal forms part of the Commission’s ‘Victims package’ and aims to further develop the European area of justice by enabling the free movement of civil protection measures where a person protected by the measure travels to or moves to another Member State. Protection measures issued in one member state, and which comply with the criteria in the proposal for a Regulation, will be recognised automatically in other Member States and enforceable for up to twelve months.

Measures will be recognised on submission to the competent authority of the second Member State, accompanied by a multi-lingual standard certificate which guarantees that procedural protections were afforded to the person causing the risk, including notification of proceedings and rights of appeal against the protection measure. The sanctions for breaching a certified protection measure will be governed by the law of the Member State of recognition. The measures covered by the regulation include in particular the types of protection afforded in Ireland under the domestic violence code.

This means that someone who obtains an order under the Domestic Violence Acts in Ireland may, if leaving the jurisdiction for another EU member state, be able to obtain a certificate in a standard multi-lingual form and be able to have that recognised in the second member state without the need for any new proceedings. This will give people continuity of protection on trips abroad for up to a year, or afford them a substantial transitional period in a new long-term home abroad before deciding whether any new legal proceedings are required.