Sweden pushes for EU-wide restraining orders
A restraining order issued in Sweden should also apply in other EU countries in order to strengthen protection for victims, particularly women subjected to violence, a new proposal states.
Sweden's minister of justice Beatrice Ask told Radio Sweden she is pleased that EU countries are willing to adopt a shared system.
"This is a very important proposal, which Sweden has pushed for. It means that a person protected by a restraining order in Sweden should be able to travel to another EU member state and receive the same protection there," Ask said.
The Swedish law on restraining orders is meant to protect victims of harassment or stalking. In 2011, it replaced an older law in order to strengthen the protection. Most cases concern women receiving protection from violent men.
Judge of appeal Joakim Zetterstedt has reviewed the matter for the government. He explained to Swedish Radio how the new rules would work in practice.
"The person protected by a restraining order will be able to approach the prosecutor and demand that the order be transferred to another country, which should then ensure that the order is effective. That country should also step in in the event of a breach," said Zetterstedt.
The procedure would not apply to shorter trips abroad, but only when it comes to longer stays in another country.
There are about 4,000 restraining order cases in Sweden annually, and Ask said she does not know how many of those would also apply abroad but, she said, the law is still important.
"Even if it's just a few cases I think it is an important basic principle that the person who is the victim of threats and is protected here in Sweden, still should have the opportunity to move freely in Europe," said Ask.
The new law should come into force in January 2014, the proposal states.