With European elections coming up in May 2019, you probably want to know how the European Union impacts your daily life, before you think about voting. In the latest in a series of posts on what Europe does for you, your family, your business and your wellbeing, we look at what Europe does for victims of crimes.
Did you know that every year an estimated 15 % of Europeans, or 75 million people in the EU, fall victim to crime? These people have a range of needs and rights that have to be met, such as physical and psychological assistance, access to justice, protection from intimidation, retaliation and further harm and access to compensation.
In 2012, the EU adopted a law that sets minimum standards on the rights, support and protection of victims of crime in all EU countries. The law ensures that victims are recognised and treated with respect and that they are able to participate in criminal proceedings. Furthermore, based on that law, EU countries ensure officials who come into contact with victims of crime have appropriate training, so that they recognise those victims’ needs.
National authorities can issue restraining or barring orders to protect victims from further violence or harassment by the offenders and EU law ensures that victims continue to benefit from those protection orders in civil or criminal matters even when moving or travelling to another EU country.
EU law also ensures that each country guarantees fair and appropriate compensation to victims of crime for injuries or damages they have suffered. That compensation must be easily accessible, regardless of where in the EU the crime was committed.
For certain groups of victims of crime, such as victims of human trafficking, child victims of sexual exploitation and child pornography and victims of terrorism, the EU adopted specific legislation that directly addresses their needs.
- EPRS publication on The Victims’ Rights Directive 2012/29/EU, http://www.europarl.europa.eu/thinktank/en/document.html?reference=EPRS_STU%282017%29611022
- European Commission’s website, https://ec.europa.eu/info/strategy/justice-and-fundamental-rights/criminal-justice/victims-rights_en
- European e-justice portal, https://e-justice.europa.eu/content_victims_of_crime-65-en.do
- Fundamental Rights Agency’s publication, http://fra.europa.eu/en/publication/2014/victims-crime-eu-extent-and-nature-support-victims