London MEP Marina Yannakoudakis and her fellow Conservatives today supported a new European Protection Order (EPO) to safeguard victims of stalking and domestic violence.

The EPO will support victims of violence, harassment and other crimes if they have obtained a protection order in one EU country but then move to another. It will be based on a system of mutual recognition and effectively make protection orders portable in Europe.

People who have gained non-molestation or restraining orders in the UK will find the orders enforceable in other EU countries provided the injunction covers an offence which is also a crime in the country concerned. The EPO deals only with contraventions of member states’ own national laws in criminal matters and does not propose any harmonisation of legislation on harassment, stalking or domestic violence.

Marina Yannakoudakis MEP, London MEP and Conservative Spokesman for Women’s Rights, said: “Millions of British citizens are living in other EU Member States. Those who have been the victim of harassment or violence, especially by a spouse or a domestic partner, deserve the same level of protection that they enjoy in the UK.

“One quarter of women experience domestic violence in their lifetime and I hope that the EPO will especially provide support to women who have experienced abuse. The mutual recognition of protection orders will mean that victims will no longer have to endure the ordeal of applying for a new protection order every time they move to a new European country.”

Timothy Kirkhope MEP, Conservative Spokesman on Justice and Home Affairs, said “This is a common sense solution that will enable people to travel freely across the EU knowing that the protection they are granted in one country will apply across the continent. People who have been subjected to violence and abuse have suffered enough without being effectively imprisoned in one country because of a lack of legal protection.”