European Commission publishes new EU Strategy on Victim’s Rights

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On June 24, the European Commission published its “EU strategy on victim’s rights” and promoting five key priorities:

(i)              effective communication with victims and a safe environment for victims to report crime;

(ii)            improving support and protection to the most vulnerable victims;

(iii)           facilitating victims’ access to compensation;

(iv)           strengthening cooperation and coordination among all relevant actors; and

(v)            strengthening the international dimension of victims’ rights.

Whilst, trafficked persons are specifically mentioned among the vulnerable victim groups, with it being indicated that they need special assistance, support and protection, there is not much reflection on their specific needs or the need for further action. Noteworthy is that the strategy includes explicit reference to undocumented victims of crime, including the need for safe reporting, access to justice and complaint mechanisms. Furthermore, the Commission promises to assess legal and practical tools at an EU level to improve reporting of crime and access to support services for migrant victims, independently of their residence status.

EU Member States are requested to take action to ensure that ‘all victims, including migrant victims, have access to justice independently of their residence status’. In addition, the Commission calls for the exchange of good practices amongst EU Member States. Further positive developments is the increased attention on the need for adequate information on the victim rights, as embedded in the EU Victim Directive, and the Commission plans to launch an EU-wide campaign to inform victims about their rights. Whilst compensation for victims of crime is a specific priority in the Strategy, it is regrettable that the recommendations included are general, stating the need for the Commission to monitor compliance with existing legislation and to consider the revision of legislation, but does not go much beyond that.