“Too many victims of violent crime are not involved in criminal proceedings. It is our duty to safeguard their rights,” says FRA Director Michael O'Flaherty. “To protect them from further victimisation. And to guarantee that they too can take part in righting the wrongs they have suffered.”
FRA's four 'Justice for victims of violent crime' reports identify failings in the justice system. Each report has a separate focus, looking at access to justice from a rights perspective. The last report looks at women as victims of domestic violence.
The reports propose practical ways policymakers can make improvements to help victims. These include:
- More effective and comprehensive support to address the piecemeal approach to support. Better coordination between the police and support services for swift and effective referrals. Member States should also provide adequate staffing and funding for support services. This includes free legal aid, counselling, and advice on victims’ rights.
- More protection during court proceedings to prevent further trauma when encountering offenders again. Measures should be in place to separate offenders and victims throughout proceedings.
- Greater police protection. The police and judges should better protect women in fear of violence again by their partner. They should systematically use barring and court orders.
- Better compensation for victims for the suffering endured. Inform victims of their right to compensation from offenders and from the state. Train judges that compensation is an important part of sentencing offenders.
- Rehabilitating offenders through anti-violence training, probation and victim-offender mediation. This helps society by preventing further violence. It also makes offenders more accountable for their actions.
- Judicial and police training to encourage understanding and empathy when dealing with victims. This would help the courts and police to better recognise victims’ rights. It will ensure that victims are treated respectfully. Train healthcare providers to identify and act on incidents of abuse. Educate police on the need to intervene to prevent women from further suffering at the hands of their partner.
The reports explore the rights-based approach to criminal justice. They result from fieldwork in Austria, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal and the UK. They capture the perspectives of victims of violent crime, and of victim support staff, lawyers, the police and judges when it comes to protection against repeat victimisation and seeking justice.
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Note to Editors: The full reports are available at:
- Victims’ rights as standards of criminal justice – Justice for victims of violent crime, Part I
- Proceedings that do justice – Justice for victims of violent crime, Part II
- Sanctions that do justice – Justice for victims of violent crime, Part III
- Women as victims of partner violence – Justice for victims of violent crime, Part IV