From Iceland — Women Unprotected As Supreme Court Drops Restraining Orders

Women Unprotected As Supreme Court Drops Restraining Orders

Published January 27, 2015

Nanna Árnadóttir
Photo by

Iceland’s Supreme Court has dropped a restraining order against a man who is suspected of physically abusing his ex-partner and recently confessed to sending graphic sexually explicit videos of her to her work colleagues, reports Vísir.

“I was in shock,” said Juliane Ferguson of the verdict. “I thought that the court was allowing him to be the victim instead of seeing who really was the victim, and that he had more rights than the victim.”

Juliane has been living in Kvennaathvarfið – a women’s shelter for victims of domestic abuse – after being allegedly attacked by her now ex-partner in front of her children.

Juliane, who shares custody of her two oldest children with their father was forced to flee her apartment following the abuse. Her two oldest are currently living with their father full time while Juliane has her youngest with her 50% of the time. She is still trying to regain access to her apartment.

Juliane in fact owns the apartment her ex is staying in with their two-year old daughter. The police prosecutor however, decided not to intervene and throw him out and child protective services have also decided not to remove Juliane’s daughter from her ex’s care.

“He’s harassing me while he has her,” said Juliane. “That’s not really a good home environment for a child when the father is doing that to her mother.”

Although the police investigation into her attack is ongoing and despite the fact that her ex confessed to continuing to harass her by publicly sharing nude photographs and videos of her, the Icelandic Supreme Court ruling stipulated that they had decided to drop the restraining order as six months had passed since the physical assault.

“It’s scary enough and hard enough to take the step to leave and close your door and realise you’re walking out of your home and you have no idea what’s going to happen,” said Juliane. “[Then] to know that you have no support by the legal system, it’s going to make [other] women give up.”

RÚV reports that in the past few days two additional restraining orders were also dropped by the Supreme Court. In one of those cases a man threatened to physically harm his ex-girlfriend and her child and in the other a man lost his temper in his ex girlfriend’s apartment and destroyed her property and personal belongings.

The Police Commissioner for the Metropolitan Police believes that it is unlikely – in all three cases – that they will be able to safeguard these women’s privacy without the restraining orders.

Correction: a prior version of this article incorrectly stated that Juliane did not currently have access to her youngest child. We have since learned that she currently enjoys 50% custody, and the article has been amended to reflect this.  

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