The European project Epogender «Gender Violence: Protocols for the protection of victims and effectiveness of protection orders. Towards an efficient implementation of Directive 2011/99/EU (2012-2014)», financed under the Daphne III Programme, aimed to assess the various protection measures that the EU Member States have implemented in the field of gender violence, in order to ensure that all victims, regardless of their country of origin, have at their disposal the same or at least adequate mechanisms to fight this phenomenon when they decide to exercise their freedom of movement and/or residence in virtue of a European protection order under Directive 2011/99/EU. The Epogender project limits itself to the criminal protection measures offered to the victims of gender violence within the European Union, and focuses particularly on the three measures laid down in the above mentioned Directive, i.e., the prohibition from entering certain localities, places or defined areas where the protected person resides or visits; the prohibition or regulation of contact with the protected person; and the prohibition or regulation on approaching the protected person closer than a prescribed distance.
The main goal of Epogender was to provide indicators which allow for a correct transposition of the provisions of Directive 2011/99/EU, thus contributing, albeit only partially through minimum standards, to an approximation of the protection of the victims of gender violence in the European Union. Given the fact that the Directive does not oblige the Member States to revise their legislation in order to adapt it to the new EU rules, it is vitally important to detect the existing common standards and disparities in this field, not just with regard to regulations but also with regard to the practices used to ensure the effectiveness of the European Protection Order.
The analysis of the existing protection measures for gender victims and the drafting of the indicators for the transposition of Directive 2011/99/EU have not been an easy task. Legally speaking, it is an extremely complex issue given the fact that the Directive concerns all kinds of victims and that there is a lack of a uniform concept of gender violence among the European Union Member States; besides, the procedures in which the European protection order must be embedded are not harmonized either, being sometimes criminal, sometimes civil in nature, and, also because we were dealing with a subject featuring several dimensions which are difficult to grasp and which, nonetheless, require a clear and functional legal perception.
The objectives and key results of Epogender include:
To identify the current situation in the Member States of the measures for the protection of victims of gender violence.
To detect harmonized protection measures as well as divergences in the protection that might affect victims when exercising their freedom of movement and residence within the EU, as well as the difficulties and challenges to be met when harmonizing the measures and standards in question.
To provide indicators with a view to a correct transposition of Directive 2011/99/EU, in particular with respect to: legal interests protected, conditions included when issuing the order, measures included in the order, information to the victim and to the person causing danger, competent authorities, procedures, execution in the State of destination, and other relevant aspects that have been detected in the course of the research carried out for the project.
To organize training workshops for practitioners and other actors engaged in the protection of victims (judges, prosecutors, competent public authorities and social services, police officers, lawyers); These have taken place mainly in Spain (more specifically by organizing a course at the International University Menéndez y Pelayo, together with the University of Valencia), in Poland (University of Szczecin), and Bulgaria (Bulgarian Judges Association).
Disseminate the Project and its results in order to raise awareness in society and among people concerned. The project and its objectives have been presented at various universities, e.g. at the University of Lisbon, the Free University of Berlin, University Roma Tre and the University of Trento, as well as at other specialized academic institutions. Mention should also be made of the dissemination of the project during the Gender Summit that was held in Brussels in June 2014.