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Access_open Dutch Penal Protection Orders in Practice

A Study of Aims and Outcomes

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 3 2021
Keywords enforcement practice, victim safety, street level bureaucracy, criminal justice chain, penal protection orders
Authors Tamar Fischer and Sanne Struijk
AbstractAuthor's information

    Penal protection orders (PPOs) aim to protect initial victims from repeat victimisation and in a broader sense from any danger for his or her dignity or psychological and sexual integrity and may therefore be important instruments for victim safety. However, knowledge on the actual practice of the PPOs and the successes, dilemmas and challenges involved is scarce. In this article, we describe the legal framework and actual enforcement practice of Dutch PPOs. The theoretical framework leading our explorative analyses regards Lipsky’s notion of ‘street-level bureaucracy’ and the succeeding work of Maynard & Musheno and Tummers on coping strategies and agency narratives of frontline workers. Using interview data from criminal justice professionals, victims and offenders, we describe the conditions of the enforcement practice and answer the question which coping mechanisms and types of agencies the professionals tend to apply in order to meet the legislative aims and to protect victims as effectively as possible. Results show that the five conditions described by Lipsky are clearly present. So far, in almost all situations the process of monitoring violations is reactive and because knowledge on risk indicators for violent escalation is still limited, it is difficult for frontline workers to decide how many and what type of resources should be invested in which cases. This results in a ‘moving away from clients’ strategy. However, within this context in which reactive enforcement is the default, we also found several examples of coping that represent ‘moving towards clients’ strategies.


Tamar Fischer
Tamar Fischer is Associate Professor of Criminology at the Erasmus Universiteit Rotterdam, the Netherlands.

Sanne Struijk
Sanne Struijk is Professor of Penal Sanctions Law and associate professor of Criminal Law at the Erasmus University Rotterdam, the Netherlands.
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