New EU Law on Domestic Violence

EU Regulation on Mutual Recognition of Protection Measures in Civil Matters

The EU has introduced a new law to protect victims of domestic violence and those who need protective measures. The law will come into force from January 2015. It is the result of years of work in the Daphne Project.

The law is aimed at providing a united protection for victims of domestic violence across all land borders, so the same protection applies no matter where a victim travels in the member states. If a person has obligations imposed on them by a member state in relation to violence or threats against another person, then these obligations also apply in all member states. The types of obligations include a prohibition of entering a location where a protected person lives, works or regularly visits, or not going within a certain distance of the protected person.

The regulation will be binding and directly applicable, applying to all protection measures ordered on or after 11 January 2015. Member states have to automatically recognise the protection measures as if they had been made in their state, to ensure the freedom of movement for victims across the EU.

Although member states have to uphold the protection measures, the EU is not dictating how this is to be done. Violations of the protective measures are dealt with according to the laws of each member state. The exact details of the measures can also change from state to state, as they cover locations such as the protected person’s place of work, or education establishment which will change depending on their location.

There is no doubt that this law will make a real difference to the victims of domestic violence who would not otherwise receive adequate protection when they crossed EU borders for work or education, due to the different laws in each member state. This is a good example of the role in which the EU should play in cross-border family law.

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