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In brief / Factsheet

Publication date:6 December 2012

Victim support services in the EU: an overview and assessment of victims’ rights in practice

The European Union (EU) and its Member States have undertaken many legislative and non-legislative initiatives in recent years to improve the situation of victims of crime, while work to promote the rights of victims is still ongoing. Some of the key concerns in the field include the role of the victim in criminal proceedings and facilitating access to criminal justice systems: in other words, ensuring that victims are recognised as persons with rights. These rights should be respected and safeguarded by the criminal justice system.


The project provides Member States with concrete examples of different practices in the area of victim support – based on an analysis of what currently exists at Member State level. It is the first independent overview of victim support services in the EU. It reviewed current practices and gaps at the national and regional level. This lead to an overview of different models of victim support from which ‘promising practices’ can be highlighted as a basis for further development and enhancement of victim support.


The project followed a request from the European Commission in 2010 to assist their work on improving legislation and provisions for victims of crime, as linked with the Victims’ Roadmap. It is hoped that the project results will assist decision making at EU and Member State level, also through the identification of promising practices.


Based on desk research and some qualitative interviews to confirm the research findings, the project collected summary overviews of victim support systems from each Member State. This was followed up with more detailed data collection on and analysis of existing systems and services –including details about support services offered by both states and NGOs. Alongside a general overview of victim support services, the research identified promising practices with respect to victim services, including some examples from specific victim support services. From here, selected ‘models’ of victim support services were then presented.


This project page was last updated on 12.10.2015