All the victims of crime across the European Union deserve support. This initiative of the European Commission aims to strengthen their rights across the European Union so that they receive support, access information, seek justice and obtain compensation.
The proposed update of the existing Directive establishes minimum rules that go beyond those adopted in 2012, effectively addressing the evolving needs of our society, developments in technology and in justice.
The reform includes the following elements:
- Ensuring victims are well informed of their rights and provided with the necessary resources to report a crime, notably by establishing a universal Victims’ helpline with an EU-wide telephone number: 116 006, and setting up a comprehensive website, which should allow also for chats and emails.
- Enhancing safety measures tailored to the specific needs of vulnerable victims (such as children, elderly persons, persons with disabilities, victims of hate crime or victims in detention): we propose improving the individual assessment of victims’ protection needs – by providing that it should be initiated from the first contact with the authorities – and extending the list of protection measures available – for instance protection orders or ensuring the presence of law enforcement authorities.
- Providing access to specialised support services for vulnerable victims, such as free psychological support for as long as necessary depending on the victims individual needs.
- Facilitating access to justice by ensuring victims are sufficiently assisted in court and are empowered to challenge the criminal proceedings’ decisions affecting their rights, independently of their status during these proceedings.
- Ensuring effective access to compensation by guaranteeing victims compensation immediately after the judgement. Victims should have the right to obtain a decision on compensation from the offender as part of the criminal proceedings (without the need to have recourse to another proceeding) and the State should pay the compensation to the victim directly, seeking reimbursement from the offender afterwards.
These revisions and measures proposed build upon the evaluation of the 2012 Victims’ Rights Directive and the EU Strategy on Victims’ Rights 2020-2025, reflecting the European Union’s commitment to continuously improving the protection and support offered to victims of crime across Member States.
The Commission’s proposal has to be adopted by the European Parliament and the Council. Once adopted, the Member States would have two years to implement the Directive into their national law. An exception is made for the use of electronic means of communication, where the Member States would have four years to set up the necessary structures.
More information: European Commission