More needs to be done to support victims of crime

Many millions of people each year fall victim to crime and need support. European Day for Victims of Crime is a time to underline the urgent need to properly protect victims’ rights and ensure they receive the support they need to fully and actively participate in criminal proceedings, says FRA.

Now that the EU Victims’ Rights Directive has entered into force, EU Member States must ensure they comply with the obligations in the Directive. The Directive establishes minimum standards for the rights, support and protection of all victims no matter where they are from. It ensures that people who are victims of crime, even if they have not reported the crime, are recognised, treated with respect and receive proper protection, support and access to justice. This should empower victims to make use of their rights so their voices are heard and justice is served.

Last January, FRA suggested how to provide the effective support that is vital to ensure that victims of crime have real access to justice for the suffering they have been caused. The suggestions were based on a comprehensive assessment of victim support services throughout the EU.

It pointed to the need for well-resourced, targeted victim support. This includes trauma support and counselling for victims with specific needs, for example victims with a disability, victims of sexual violence, or irregular migrants who become victims of crime. It also requires training for police officers and court staff, proper resources as well as readily available information for victims so they know their rights and the support they can receive. Combined such measures will ensure victims do not simply have rights but actively use them in proceedings.

These findings drew on reports from all 28 EU Member States from FRA’s multidisciplinary research network, FRANET. The reports have now been made available on FRA’s website. In each report there is data about victim support procedures at the national level.