Crimes violate people’s fundamental rights. Therefore, victims have a right to criminal justice. European Day for Victims of Crime, on 22 February, offers the chance to examine the protection Member States offer to safeguard victims’ rights.
About 1 in 7 people every year are victims of crime across the EU. Thankfully, under the EU’s Victims’ Rights Directive victims have substantial rights.
This means the police should effectively investigate crimes. This, in turn, should lead the justice system to identify, convict and punish offenders.
It allows victims to actively take part in criminal proceedings. In addition, it entitles them to support and legal advice.
But in practice, Member States need to do more to safeguard victims’ rights, as FRA’s research shows.
It offers practical suggestions to guide policymakers’ efforts to improve victims’ support.
These include more effective and comprehensive victims’ support services.
They cover greater police protection to prevent repeat victimisation, for example.
They also point to the need to protect victims during court proceedings. Victims sometimes meet their offenders in court corridors awaiting trial. This can re-traumatise victims.
FRA will offer further insights into victimisation later this year.
It will release findings from its EU-wide Fundamental Rights Survey of 35,000 people.
It will reveal levels of victimisation across the EU. It will also show how often people report crimes, or not and why not. It will also point to the level of support they receive.
Alongside the earlier work, these findings will guide EU and national policymakers.
They will highlight the impact violence, harassment and fraud has on people. They will also pinpoint gaps in support and suggest how best to tackle under-reporting
In doing so, victims should get the justice they deserve and their rights will be honoured.