Migration and Home Affairs

Victims of terrorism

Victims' rights

Victims of terrorism deserve special attention and support at both Member State and EU level.

The main EU instrument in the area of victims’ rights is the Victims' Rights Directive, which lays down a set of binding rights for all victims of all crimes and corresponding obligations on Member States.

The EU has also adopted specific rules for victims of terrorism. The 2017/542 Directive complements the current legislation on the rights for victims of terrorism and requires Member States to provide for access to professional, specialist support services, immediately after an attack and for as long as necessary. Member States should have in place protocols and mechanisms to provide for efficient emergency response, including access to reliable information, thereby avoiding any additional suffering for victims of terrorism and their families.

The 2004 Compensation Directive provides access to national compensation schemes to victims of violent, intentional crime. In March 2019, Special Adviser to President Juncker on victims’ compensation Joëlle Milquet issued a report on “Strengthening victims’ rights: from compensation to reparation”. The report calls for a strategic approach to victims’ rights.

The Commission is taking actions aimed at setting up an EU Centre of Expertise for Victims of Terrorism. It is a 2-year pilot project with a total budget of 1 million euros. The EU Centre of Expertise for Victims of Terrorism will provide for guidelines and training activities aimed at assisting national authorities and victim support organisations in implementation of the EU rules on victims of terrorism. It will act as a hub of expertise and will evaluate feasibility and necessity of setting up of a Coordination Centre for Victims of Terrorism in the future.

Radicalisation Awareness Network Remembrance of Victims of Terrorism (RVT) Working Group

Victims of terrorism (including people who have been targets of an attack and those who have lost a relative) become involuntary experts on the harm that violent extremism can cause. With this in mind, the purpose of the EU's Radicalisation Awareness Network Remembrance of Victims of Terrorism Working Group is three-fold:

  1. Remember and honour all victims of terrorism, particularly by cooperating in the organisation of the European Remembrance Day for Victims of Terrorism on 11 March each year.
  2. Present victims’ experiences and give strength to their voices in order to highlight the human consequences of violent extremism with the aim of preventing and countering violent extremism.
  3. Address victims’ needs and safeguard their rights.

Cooperation between victims' associations

The Commission has set up a European Network of Associations of Victims of Terrorism (NAVT). The main aim of this network is to stimulate trans-national cooperation between associations of victims of terrorism and enhance the representation of victims' interests at the EU-level. On its website, the network provides useful information, including the mapping of associations and organisations specialised in supporting victims of terrorism, funding opportunities, a calendar of events, a library with relevant publications as well as a chat forum.

On the external front, the EU works on strengthening cooperation with partner countries and international organisations in view of promoting international solidarity with those who have suffered a terrorist attack.