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Implementing the Istanbul Convention into Romanian legislation

Romania signed the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence (Istanbul Convention) in 2014 and ratified the Convention in 2016, which entered into force as of September 1st, 2016.

Through Law no.174/13.07.2018, the provisions of the Istanbul Convention were partially transposed. Provisions of art. 9 par. (1) lit. b) and c) and par. (3) lit a) and b) from the Directive 2012/29/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 October 2012 establishing minimum standards on the rights, support and protection of victims of crime, and replacing Council Framework Decision 2001/220/JHA, were published in the Official Journal of the European Union, L series , issue 315, November 14th, 2012.

Through Law no.174/13.07.2018 the phrase „family violence” was changed to „domestic violence” in national legislation, in accordance with the text of the Convention.

Domestic violence was redefined as: ”any intended action or inaction of physical, sexual, psychological or economic violence that occurs within the family or domestic unit, or between former or current spouses or partners, whether or not the perpetrator shares or has shared the same residence with the victim”.

The next forms of violence were redefined: psychological abuse, physical violence, social violence and spiritual abuse, keeping the definitions for: verbal abuse, sexual violence and economic abuse.

Children witnessing violent acts have also been recognized as victims of domestic violence.

The most important legal amendment is the regulation of the temporary protection order, which did not exist in the legislation beforehand. The order can be issued immediately by a police officer.

The temporary protection order has a duration of 5 days (120 hours) and can entail the following measures:

a) temporary eviction of the perpetrator from the common residence, regardless if the property is owned by the perpetrator;
b) reinstating the victim and children into the shared house;
c) requesting the perpetrator to maintain a minimum distance from the victim, family members, or the residence, workplace or school of the protected person;
d) requesting the perpetrator to wear an electronic surveillance bracelet;
e) requesting the perpetrator to hand in any weapons he may possess to the police.

The temporary protection order is confirmed by the prosecutor. The prosecutor decides on the need to keep the measures in place within the next 48 hours, and:

• orders the reasoned ending of the measures;
• confirms the maintenance of the measures and submits the temporary protection order to the judge along with a request for the issuing of the protection order.

Public authorities have the obligation to ensure accommodation for perpetrators in residential centers. Public authorities also have the obligation to establish emergency centers, recovery centers and shelters for victims of domestic violence at the national level.

By Giulia Crișan

Giulia Crișan is a lawyer by profession and currently the Vice-President of ANAIS Association (a member of the WAVE Network). Giulia has been working as a consultant for ANAIS since 2012, focusing primarily on judicial matters concerning protenction orders for victims of domestic violence. Giulia is a graduate of the Law Faculty, Dimitrie Cantemir Christian University − Bucharest. Giulia became a member of the Bucharest Bar in 2000 and has her onw legal practice. Giulia can be contacted at: giulia.crisan@asociatia-anais.ro .