Each year, more than 75 million people fall victim to serious crimes in the European Union. EU legislations, such as the 2012 Victims’ Rights Directive, has made a difference – helping victims to be treated respectfully, and to have support and protection. We welcome new initiatives such as the Proposal for a Directive on Combating Violence against Women and Domestic Violence, which further protects many of the most vulnerable.
Yet thousands upon thousands of victims are not fully protected by these laws. Thousands never report even the most terrible of crimes. Where victims do report a crime, they face significant challenges and anguish. In some countries, victims have no access to professional support.
In the 21st century, the most vulnerable in our societies must be taken care of. Justice systems should be safe for victims, protecting them as much as the accused. This is why, we welcome the commitment of the European Commission to update EU Victims’ laws and look forward to it urgently publishing a new Victims Rights Directive.
This is an opportunity to transform how we think about victims’ rights, and about their access to support, justice and protection. A robust Victims Rights Directive will form a strong foundation for all victims of all crimes, including for example victims of terrorism, victims with disabilities, and families of murdered victims who are not covered by current EU proposals. It will complement specialist laws focused on specific groups of victims ensuring a comprehensive system to protect and support every victim.
We call on every person to stand as one for victims and to support the publication of the revised Victims’ Rights Directive to ensure that no victim is forgotten or remains voiceless.