The conceptualisation of the victim in the normative (legal and cultural) framework, and the role the victim is seen as having in the criminal procedure depends strongly on the historical development of the legal framework in each individual Member State, and in turn influences the conceptualisation of victim support services. The diverse approaches to victims’ rights reflect different understandings of the concept of the victim itself. This variety largely remains despite EU legislation for victims of crime having been in place since 2001.
In this respect, it appears that in EU Member States three basic models can be distinguished. In reality, these abstract models often overlap and should therefore be seen rather as points of departure from which the individual national systems deviate to a lesser or greater degree. It should also be emphasised that these models are based on legislation, whereas practice may be much better or worse. This classification is nevertheless useful for understanding the underlying reasons for the existing differences in the rights and practical position of victims in various EU Member States.
|1. Rights-approach: Victims have rights to participate in proceedings and have an accusatorial function (Nebenkläger)||2. Partie civile: Victims can pursue civil law claims in criminal proceedings||3. Common law approach: Victims are seen mainly as witnesses|
Note: EU Member States by predominant approach as assessed by FRA national research contractors.
Conceptualisation of victims and their role in criminal proceedings: three different approaches
Source: FRA, 2014
|Rights-approach: Victims can participate in proceedings and have an accusatorial function|
|Partie civile: Victims can pursue civil law claims in criminal proceedings|
|Common law approach: Victims are seen mainly as witnesses|