All victims of crime, and their family members, are entitled to defined legal benefits. These benefits, or rights, are available from the moment a crime has been reported to the authorities and include the right to information, support, and help with the criminal justice system. However, victims may have different rights depending on their country of residence and the country in which the crime took place: not all countries give the same benefits as those available in the European Union. If you have been a victim of a crime outside the EU and wish to find out how you can access the support available to you, please go to the website of your government or embassy.
The European Union guarantees a minimum set of rights and certain standards, which Member States are expected to legally uphold. In 2012, the European Union adopted a Directive establishing Minimum Standards on the Rights, Support and Protection of Victims of Crime – the Victims’ Rights Directive – that applies to every EU Member State, except Denmark.
The EU Victims’ Rights Directive ensures that citizens, who have fallen victim to crime are recognised and treated with respect, and have access to justice. However, and in addition to the Victims’ Rights Directive, which covers all victims of all crimes, other specialist decrees such as the Directive on Trafficking in Human Beings, Directive on Combatting Terrorism, Directive on Child Sexual Exploitation, and the Directive on Compensation have been adopted by the EU.
The EU Commission’s e-justice portal has information on how each Member State implements these rights.