To mark the European Day for Victims of Crime, Vice-President for Values and Transparency Vera Jourová and Commissioner for Justice Didier Reynders issued the following statement:
“Every year millions of people in the European Union become victims of crime.
The COVID-19 pandemic had its impact too. During the lockdown measures, we saw a rise in domestic violence, child sexual abuse, cybercrime, and racist and xenophobic hate crime. These victims need particular attention.
Many of these victims do not know their rights. Often they do not want to or are too scared to report crimes to authorities. As a result, too many victims of crime are left unheard without access to justice and proper support.
The first step to change this is to empower victims, especially those most vulnerable such as victims of gender-based violence or hate crime. Last year we presented the first ever victims’ rights strategy, focused on empowering victims to report crimes and get the support they need, no matter where they are in the EU, or in what circumstances the crime took place.
The second step is to work together. We appointed our first ever Coordinator for victims’ rights and set up the EU Victims’ Rights Platform, bringing together for the first time all EU level actors relevant for victims’ rights.
Helping victims recover from their suffering and move on in their lives is a challenging and long-running task that only a tight-knit cooperation between all actors at EU and national level can achieve.”
Every year millions of people in the European Union become victims of crime. In 2017, around 15 million people were victims of serious offences, such as homicide, child sexual abuse or kidnapping. The scale of gender-based violence in the EU is alarming: 1 in 3 women (33 %) has experienced physical and/or sexual violence since she was 15 years old. Only about one third of women, who are physically or sexually abused, mostly by their partners or close relatives, contact the authorities. The lockdown of society during the COVID-19 pandemic saw a rise in domestic violence, child sexual abuse and cybercrime, as well as racist and xenophobic hate crime.
The EU has a solid set of rules in place to fight violence and help victims of crime:
- The Victims’ Rights Directive lays down a clear set of rights for victims of crime, and obligations for EU Member States to ensure these rights in practice.
- For certain groups of victims, the EU adopted specific rules. These rules build on the Victims’ Rights Directive but respond more directly to the specific needs of some victims, including victims of human trafficking, child victims of sexual exploitation and child pornography, and victims of terrorism.
- The EU has also put in place legislation that facilitates access to compensation in situations where the crime was committed in an EU country other than the victim’s country of residence.
On 24 June 2020, the Commissions presented a new Strategy for Victims’ Rights for 2020-2024 to ensure that all victims of crime can fully rely on their rights, no matter where in the EU the crime took place.
On 19 February, the Fundamental Rights Agency published its first ever EU-wide survey on crime victimisation.
Source: European Day for Victims of Crime (europa.eu)
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