“Today my thoughts go out to all those children, women and men who one day fell victim to crime. And on this day I once again pay my respect to Ján Kuciak, who was murdered one year ago. We have to protect journalists from any form of intimidation and attacks.
Being a victim of crime is something that can happen to all of us. However, not all victims report that they have suffered from a crime: for 25 million criminal offences reported in the EU, we estimate that another 75 million go unreported. We have to put an end to this. Victims often do not go to the police, as they are afraid of the offender or from suffering the negative consequences of criminal proceedings.
In the EU, all victims of crime benefit today from a set of clear rights, independently of where in the European Union the crime takes place. In particular, the Victims' Rights Directive, which came into application in November 2015, provides the rights to be recognised and treated in a respectful, professional and non-discriminatory manner. The main objective of these high standards is to avoid that victims suffer additional harm during criminal proceedings.
Three years after the deadline for transposition, some Member States still have not fully transposed this EU rule. The Commission has made the implementation of the Directive a priority and is determined to ensure that it works well in practice.
I will make sure that these EU rules are applied across the Union. I will take all necessary steps, including legal actions. No matter where you live or where you come from, if you fall victim to a crime in Europe you should always receive the help and support that meet your needs.”
22 February marks the European Day for victims of crime. The European Commission has taken a range of actions to fight violence and help victims of crime:
- Since November 2015 the Victims' Rights Directive lays down a clear set of rights for victims of crime, and obligations for EU Member States to ensure these rights in practice.
- In March 2017, the EU adopted rules to strengthen the rights of victims of terrorism. The new rules should have been transposed by September 2018. Nine Member States have not transposed the Directive yet.
- In October 2017, Joëlle Milquet was appointed Special Adviser to President Jean-Claude Juncker for the compensation of victims of crime. Her role is to advise on how the Commission can foster a better implementation of the existing rules on the compensation of victims of crime, including victims of terrorism, and soon she will present the report on this work.
- In February 2018, Commissioner Jourová took part to the High Level Experts' meeting on victims' rights. Experts concluded that although there has been progress in the area of victims ‘protection, rules on victims' rights are not always well implemented.
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