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Basic rights for crime victims across the EU
All crime victims should have the same basic rights across the EU, and should have their specific needs assessed, under a draft EU directive setting minimum protection standards unanimously endorsed by the Civil Liberties and Women’s Rights committees. An estimated 75 million people are victims of crime every year in the EU.
When crimes happen abroad, differing cultures, languages and laws can create serious problems. The draft directive aims to ensure that whatever the crime - mugging, robbery, assault, rape, harassment, hate crime, terrorist attack, or human trafficking - and wherever in the EU it is committed, all victims have the same basic rights to be recognised and treated with respect and dignity, get protection and support for their physical integrity and property, and have access to justice and compensation.
Under the European Commission proposal, children, persons with disabilities, victims of rape and victims of human trafficking will be considered vulnerable and will benefit from special treatment. MEPs propose to extend the list of vulnerable victims and include asylum seekers and refugees, elderly and victims of gender-based violence, terrorism, organised crime, violence in close relationships, torture, hate crime, organ trafficking and attempted homicide. Relatives of murdered persons should also be considered vulnerable.
Victims need to be informed from the start about their rights, either orally or in writing, in simple and accessible language and in a language that they understand. Victims should also be enabled to report the crime and take part actively in the criminal proceedings (interviews and court hearings) in a language that they understand. Interpretation and translation services would be made available to this end, MEPs say.
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