There are many reasons why adults may find themselves in a situation of vulnerability - because of their age, health or disability. Vulnerable people are at greater risk of unfair treatment, exploitation or abuse. And cross-border settings can lead to additional obstacles. It's time to address these challenges and identify the needs of vulnerable adults so everyone can enjoy their fundamental rights.
Imagine living in a care home in one country but not being able to access your bank account in your home country.
Or being a victim of a hate crime abroad without someone there to represent you.
Old age, disability, victim of gender-based violence, or of a hate crime.
There are many reasons why adults may find themselves in a situation of vulnerability when contacting justice services.
Vulnerable people are at greater risk of unfair treatment, exploitation, or abuse and exposed to further victimisation, intimidation and retaliation.
Unable to defend their interests, and exercise their human rights.
And cross-border settings can lead to additional obstacles – linguistic, legal, and administrative – which can particularly affect vulnerable adults wishing to exercise their right of freedom of movement within the EU.
The COVID-19 pandemic has worsened this situation.
European societies are ageing. So the number of people who may need support to exercise their rights is likely to increase in the future.
And despite recent efforts, the overall situation in the EU remains far from satisfactory.
It’s time for things to change.
It’s time we address these challenges, identifying the needs of vulnerable adults and the barriers they face.
It’s time for all members of our diverse societies to enjoy their fundamental rights including equal access to justice, in practice.
Let’s seize this opportunity to make Europe work better for those who need it most.
Let’s start a conversation for change.