19 February 2021

Michael O’Flaherty on crime, safety, and victims’ rights

We don’t all experience crime in the same way, and we might deal with it differently. But it’s vital – as victims or witnesses – that our rights are guaranteed, because access to justice is our fundamental right. Watch FRA Director Michael O’Flaherty speaking on the Fundamental Rights Survey report on crime, safety and victims’ rights.


Here in Europe, we struggle with how to honour and respect the rights of the victims of crime.

We find it challenging to respectfully receive the complaint of the victim. To allow the victim to accompany the process leading to prosecution. To honour the victim in the courtroom, and to ensure that the victim of crime receives some form of adequate compensation.

It’s in the light of these challenges that we so greatly welcome the Victims’ Rights Strategy adopted just a few months ago by the European Commission.

But for that strategy to work, for it to be applied by the EU and by EU Member State governments, we need the hard evidence – the data.

That’s where the Fundamental Rights Agency comes in. We’re launching a new report – Crime, Safety and Victims’ Rights. This report, the first and the largest of its kind ever attempted in the European Union, draws from interviews with 35,000 people to learn about their experience of crime.

We learn, for instance, that some 22 million people in the EU every year is subject to some form of violent crime.

We learn that women have a much worse experience than men, for instance because of the need to avoid certain places.

We know that if you’re from a minority, you have a worse experience than people in the general population, and right across all victims, we know that only a small proportion will ever report the crime.

Now this and far much more evidence can be found in the new report of the Fundamental Rights Agency. We need it to be used by policymakers at the national level, the EU level and the local level, so that we put the human rights of victims at the heart of our societies.