Today Commissioner for Justice, Didier Reynders has inaugurated the EU Victims' Rights Platform via a High-Level Conference, co-hosted with the German Presidency, following the adoption of the first EU Strategy on Victims' Rights earlier this year.
As a member of the EU Victims' Rights Platform, V-Europe is looking forward to further contributing with our expertise.
We will particularly focus on the double task of supporting the voice of victims of terrorism at EU level and contributing to implement the EU Strategy practices on a national level.
The new platform, which will meet annually and on an ad-hoc basis when necessary, will serve as an important forum for discussions on victims' rights with all relevant actors. These include the European Network on Victims' Rights, the EU Network of national contact points for compensation, the EU Counter–Terrorism Coordinator, Eurojust, the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights and civil society.
The HLC of today gathered the above mentioned organisations and EU Ministers of Justice and Members of the European Parliament. At the conference, Commissioner Reynders also introduced the Commission's newly appointed Coordinator for Victims' Rights - Katarzyna Janicka-Pawlowska.
Ahead of the event, Commissioner Reynders said: “Today is an important moment in our work to protect victims' rights in the European Union. With a new EU-wide Victims' Rights Platform and a new Coordinator for Victims' Rights, we are showing clear commitment to carry this work on, and only a few months after the Commission presented the first EU strategy in this area. I welcome the support of the German Presidency as well as our stakeholders, and I look forward to our cooperation going forward. On 24 June 2020, the Commission adopted the first ever EU Strategy on Victims' Rights. The primary goal is to ensure that all victims of crime can rely on their rights no matter where in the European Union and no matter in what circumstances the crime happened.
The new Strategy sets out a number of actions centred around five key priorities:
- Effective communicating with victims and providing for safe environment for victims to report crime
Too often victims are not aware of their rights or are afraid to report the crime for fear of the offender or negative consequences. The Commission, among others, will launch an EU campaign to raise awareness about victims' rights and promote specialist support and protection for the victims with specific needs. The Commission will also continue to monitor the implementation of the relevant EU rules, including the provisions of the Victims' Rights Directive.
- Improving protection and support of the most vulnerable victims
All victims are vulnerable and some in particular: children, elderly, victims of gender-based violence, domestic violence, racist or homophobic hate crime, victims of terrorism as well as victims with disabilities. The Commission will consider further strengthening of victims' protection by introducing minimum standards on victims' physical protection. Member States should set up specialist support services for the most vulnerable victims, including Child Houses, Family Houses, LGBTI+ safe houses.
- Facilitating victims' access to compensation
In many Member States, victims' access to compensation is difficult. Under the Strategy, the Commission will monitor and assess the EU legislation on compensation, including state compensation and the Framework Decision on mutual recognition of financial penalties. If necessary, the Commission will propose measures to complement this framework by 2022.
- Strengthening cooperation and coordination among actors on victims' rights
To ensure a more horizontal approach to victims' rights at the EU level, the Commission will set up a Victims' Rights Platform, bringing together all relevant actors.At the national level, Member States should set up national victims' rights strategies. A Commission Victims' Rights' Coordinator will also ensure consistency and effectiveness of different actions in relation to the victims' rights policy.
- Strengthening the international dimension of victims' rights
The recently adopted Action Plan on human rights and democracy reaffirms the EU's commitment to promoting, protecting and fulfilling human rights worldwide. The EU and its Member States will continue to engage with and within the United Nations and the Council of Europeto promote EU victims' rights in partner countries and to exchange best practices. The EU will continue to work closely with the candidate and potential candidate countries to strengthen victim's rights as well as support capacity building actions for priority partner countries in relation to support for victims of terrorism.
Source: V-Europe and the European Commission https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/mex_20_1724, https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/ip_20_1168