Legal measures to protect the victims of stalking, harassment and gender-based violence will be extended to the whole of the EU, thanks to new rules approved by MEPs on 22 May. This is necessary as currently legal measures issued in one country often fail to protect victims in another country, especially women and children escaping domestic violence. We talked to Antonio López-Istúriz White and Antonyia Parvanova, the two MEPs responsible for steering the legislation through Parliament.
Parliament has already voted on the mutual recognition of protection measures in criminal matters. How is protection in civil matters different and who will it affect and protect?
Mr López-Istúriz White, a Spanish member of the EPP group, said: "Civil measures might be adopted in order to protect a victim when there are serious grounds for considering that the person's life, physical and psychological integrity, personal liberty, security, or sexual integrity is at risk. Protection measures such as prohibition or limitations on contacts or on entering the place where the protected person lives or works must be executed in any country where the victim is, except for Denmark, the only EU member state not bound by this regulation."
Ms Parvanova, a Bulgarian member of the ALDE group, said: "Separate legislation for civil matters was needed so that together the two instruments cover the broadest possible range of protection measures. This legislation provides the victims of stalking, harassment or gender-based violence that are granted protection in one EU member state with fully equivalent protection in another state."
What are the next steps to ensure more safety for EU citizens in this regard?
Mr López-Istúriz White said: "Now we only need a real judicial cooperation to ensure that protection provided in one member state is maintained and continued in any other member state to which the person travels or moves."
Ms Parvanova said: "Full implementation of the legislation! The Commission will collect implementation data in the member states to identify potential loopholes and room for improvement."