In cases involving domestic violence the Courts may give a Protection Order and a Restraining Order to protect the weak party from the aggressor. Independently of such Protection/Restraining Orders the court may also give a Treatment Order to help the offender rehabilitate himself. Such orders are usually given in cases relating to domestic violence.
Protection Order (Article 412C, Criminal Code)
The objective of a Protection Order is to provide safety for the injured party from the aggressor while the alleged offender is tried for a offence (even if such an offence is not grievous) before the Courts. It could be that pending criminal proceedings the alleged offender intimidates the victim (or other persons), especially from giving evidence in Court against him. Therefore the Court may set a Protection Order against the aggressor in order to stop him from approaching the injured party.
Through a Protection Order the Court may impose any restrictions or prohibitions on an offender which it deems necessary or desirable according to the circumstances. This is done to protect the victim who already has, or is likely to be, subjected to harassment or violent behaviour by the person charged.
In particular the Court may:
- prohibit or restrict the accused from approaching or following the movements of the injured person or any other individual specified in the order; or
- prohibit or restrict access by the accused, for a given period of time to premises in which the injured person, or any other individual specified in the order, lives, works or frequents even if the accused has a legal interest in those premises; or
- prohibit the accused from contacting the injured person or any other individual specified in the order.
A person against whom a Protection Order has been issued can however contest the order. Moreover the order may be challenged by any person mentioned in the order (such as the victim or third parties, e.g. victim’s parents). Persons affected by the order may apply to the Court any time to revoke, extend or vary the order.
Contravening any of the directions set down in the Protection Order makes the offender liable to a maximum fine of circa 2,300€ or a 6 months jail term, or to both.
Restraining Order (Article 382A, Criminal Code)
A Restraining Order will protect the victim after the accused is found guilty of an offence. While the objective of the Protection Order is to protect the victim during trial, the objective of a Restraining Order is to protect the victim after the trial.
The Court has the power to lay down the same terms and conditions in the Restriction Order as those conditions it can make in the Protection Order (see above).
The same penalties will apply in the case that the Restraining Order is violated. The Court may set a time limit for the duration of a Restraining Order, however, the maximum duration set by law is of 3 years. However, the order will have effect from the date of the expiration of the punishment (therefore if the offender is punished with imprisonment, the Restraining Order will start to effect from the day that he or she is free from prison).
Treatment Order (Article 412D, Criminal Code)
Persons who are aggressive or violent towards their spouse tend to have problems such as anger management or are dependent on toxic substances. The Court may require that these persons undergo treatment in order to be helped in overcoming these problem. A Treatment Order may be ordered by the Court or may be voluntarily entered into by the accused. Treatment is usually given with the aggressor’s consent, however if the person is convicted of an offence the Treatment Order may be made without the accused person's consent.
The treatment may be any of the following kinds:
- treatment as a non-resident patient in a hospital or other appropriate agency or institution, or
- treatment as a resident patient in a hospital or other appropriate agency or institution, or
- treatment by or under the direction of a suitably qualified person as may be specified in the order for treatment.
A treatment order can be given together or independently from a Protection Order or Restraining Order.