Dutch Penal Protection Orders in Practice
A Study of Aims and Outcomes
Erasmus Law Review , Volume 14 - Issue 3 p. 146- 160
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.