EU victims’ rights must be supported – report

EU victims' rights
© iStock/MarianVejcik

A report issued yesterday detailed the difficulties experienced by victims of crime in the EU in accessing support, reparative justice and compensation.

Joëlle Milquet, Special Adviser to President Juncker on compensation for victims of crime and the author of the report, published her findings yesterday to mark the 15th annual European Day of Remembrance for Victims of Terrorism. Milquet’s report found that EU citizens who have been victims of crime frequently struggle with the justice process, with obstacles including:

  • A lack of available information regarding how and where to report crime, as well as information on the progress of their case;
  • Minimal support made available to victims of crime;
  • Complicated and difficult to understand criminal justice procedures; and
  • Excessively restrictive criteria defining who can be eligible for compensation.

These factors become amplified in cases where the victim has experienced a crime in a Member State in which they are not resident.

Věra Jourová, European Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality, said: “Victims of crime deserve protection, support and respect. This report confirms the need to ensure that already adopted victims’ rights are correctly applied in practice. The Commission is closely following Member States’ efforts in this regard. We will analyse Joëlle Milquet’s recommendations to see what practical steps can be made at European and national level to further improve victims’ access to compensation. We can build on best practices in Member States and the steps we have already taken at EU level, for instance via our measures to strengthen the rights of victims of terrorism.”

The European Day of Remembrance for Victims of Terrorism, an annual event to commemorate the victims of terrorist attacks in the EU and worldwide, was first established after the train bombings in Madrid on 11 March 2004, which killed 193 people and injured over 2000. In a statement issued to mark the 2019 Day of Remembrance, the European Commission said: “Today, we remember all those who have lost their lives or loved ones to terror, irrespective of whether those terrorist attacks took place inside the European Union or beyond its borders. We pay tribute to all those affected by these heinous crimes, families and friends, and commit to stand united in our fight against terrorism. The scars run deep and while they may fade with time, they will never disappear. We cannot erase those memories but we can do our utmost to help those affected find solace.”

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