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Minimum standards for victims of crime becomes EU law
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Published on 04-10-12

Minimum rights for victims of crime became EU law today when EU ministers formally adopted the measures.  It is estimated the new law will improve rights for 75 million crime victims across the EU every year.  Member states now have three years to introduce the measures into national law.

    Minimum standards for victims of crime becomes EU law

    The EU directive on minimum standards will ensure that across all 27 EU countries, victims of crime: 

    - are treated with respect and police, prosecutors and judges are trained to properly deal with them

    - get information on their rights and their case in a way they understand

    - have access to victim support in every member state

    - can participate in proceedings if they want and are helped to attend the trial

    - are protected while police investigate the crime and during court proceedings

    - and vulnerable victims (such as children, victims of rape, or those with disabilities) are identified and are properly protected;

    Welcoming today's decision, EU Justice Commissioner Mrs Reding said: 

    "The criminal justice systems of the EU Member States have sometimes been too focused on the criminal and not enough on the victim. With this new European law, we will strengthen the rights of victims. Nobody wants to fall victim to a crime, but if it happens, people should be safe in the knowledge they will have the same basic rights everywhere in the European Union."

    She added: "Every year, an estimated 15% of Europeans or 75 million people in the European Union fall victim to a crime. And with 12 million Europeans living in another EU country and citizens making 1 billion journeys within the EU every year, this new European law will help to reduce suffering for scores of people. This is an historic achievement and a strong signal that Europe is delivering on the rights of citizens."

    What next?

    Following publication of the directive in the EU's Official Journal, member states will have three years to implement the provisions into their national laws.


    Today's adoption by EU ministers follows a plenary vote in the European Parliament in July when an overwhelming majority of MEPs voted in favour (611 for, 9 against and 13 abstentions) and followed an agreement between the EP and Council reached in June after intense negotiations mediated by the European Commission.  The European Commission published the first proposals in May 2011.

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    Last update: 05/10/2012  |Top