European Commission announces Victims’ Rights Directive revision

EU commission

Today, on 12 July, the European Commission published the proposal for revision of the Victims’ Rights Directive.

La Strada International will study the proposal in depth and react in due course. However, we welcome the Commission’s plan for the revision. In particular, we strongly support the strengthening of victims’ access to compensation as we see how difficult it currently is for victims, including victims of trafficking, to access compensation.

According to the proposal, victims of crimes should have the right to obtain a decision on compensation from the offender as part of the criminal proceedings (without the need to have recourse to another proceeding). Importantly, the State should pay the compensation to the victim directly, seeking reimbursement from the offender afterwards.

LSI and our allies had long advocated for these provisions.

Other revisions include:

  • Enhancing information to victims and facilitating the reporting of crimes, by establishing an EU-wide Victims’ helpline, 116 006, and setting up a comprehensive website, which should also allow for chats and emails.
  • Enhancing safety measures tailored to the specific needs of vulnerable victims and improving the individual assessment of victims’ protection needs.
  • Providing access to specialised support services for vulnerable victims, such as free psychological support for as long as necessary depending on the victims’ individual needs.
  • Facilitating access to justice by ensuring victims are sufficiently assisted in court and are empowered to challenge the criminal proceedings’ decisions affecting their rights, independently of their status during these proceedings.

The Commission’s proposal will now have to be adopted by the European Parliament and the Council, who will start to define their positions after the summer. The negotiations process will probably be finalised in 2024.