Victim in Europe

EU Victims Directive 2012/29/EU

The EU Victims’ Directive 2012/29/EU was adopted by the UK in 2012 and all European Union (EU) member states must fully implement the directive by November 2015. The aim of the directive is to promote improved standards on the entitlements, support and protection available to victims of crime across the EU.

The availability of support for victims in the European countries can vary hugely. The aim of the Directive is to ensure that victims’ rights are clear and consistent so that crimes are reported and criminals can be brought to justice.

Victims in fear for their safety will also be better supported, thanks to proposed new EU-wide protection orders. Before, protection can vanish the moment a victim crosses a border. But the protection orders will mean that measures to safeguard the most vulnerable victims can automatically follow them when they travel to another European country. This would mean that, for example, a victim given a non-molestation order in one country, will be given a similar standard of protection in another EU country without having to go through lengthy and complex court procedures.

The Directive is to ensure that:

  • Victims are treated with respect and get information on their rights and their case in a way they understand.
  • Victims have access to support services which provide information and emotional support.
  • Victims have the right to be heard in proceedings, as they are in the UK through the Victim Personal Statement.
  • Vulnerable victims are identified and they are properly protected in criminal investigations and proceedings.


The EU Victims’ Directive 2012/29/EU was adopted by the UK in 2012 and all European Union (EU) member states must fully implement the directive by November 2015. The aim of the directive is to promote improved standards on the entitlements, support and protection available to victims of crime across the EU.

Adoption of the directive in the UK has been via three separate processes. As a national department investigating crime, this document sets out how HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) will ensure they have complied with the directive.

In England and Wales, the Ministry of Justice introduced a Code of Practice for Victims of Crime in 2013. The 2015 version expands the scope to cover competent authorities who weren’t previously subject to the code. It sets out how victims of crime should be treated by the criminal justice system.

Also, under the code, where a victim suffers harm caused by any criminal offence and they report that crime to the competent authority, that authority is obliged to keep the victim informed of the progress of the criminal case (as long as this doesn’t prejudice the criminal investigation).

In England and Wales,  HMRC are included as a competent authority in the England and Wales Code of Practice for the Victims of Crime (2015) which came into force on 16 November 2015. HMRC will consider whether there is a victim of crime in any criminal cases being investigated and for any victim to be afforded their rights under the code.

Justice Minister Nick Herbert said:

The UK is rightly seen internationally as a leader in the provision of support to victims of crime. The Government is committed to improving the effectiveness of support we provide even further. This Directive will help to ensure that Britons who become victims of crime when travelling in Europe are given the support they need. Coming into contact with the Criminal Justice System can be an intimidating experience at an already difficult time. When it happens in a foreign country with the barriers of language and different legal systems to overcome, it’s particularly important that victims are well supported.

‘The availability of support for victims in other European countries can vary hugely. This Directive will help ensure that victims’ rights are clear and consistent so that they can be confident in reporting crime and helping bring offenders to justice, wherever in Europe they may be.’

Other jurisdictions:

In Scotland, the Scottish Executive have implemented the EU Directive via The Victims’ Rights (Scotland) Regulations 2015. HMRC officers working in Scotland will operate within the spirit of the regulations and will consider whether anyone is a victim of crime in a criminal case and afford that person the rights as set out in the regulations.

In Northern Ireland, the Department for Justice in Northern Ireland have implemented the EU Directive via the Victim Charter (Justice Act (Northern Ireland) 2015) Order 2015. HMRC officers working in Northern Ireland will operate within the spirit of the charter and will consider whether anyone is a victim of crime in a criminal case and afford that person the rights as set out in the charter.


Further Reading

  • Albrecht, Peter-Alexis (1993). Strafrechtsverfremdende Schattenjustiz: Zehn Thesen zum Täter-Opfer-Ausgleich, in Festschrift für Horst Schüler-Springorum 81 (P.- A. Albrecht, ed. Berlin 1993).
  • Allen, Francis A. (1981). The Decline of the Rehabilitative Ideal: Penal Policy and Social Purpose (New Haven 1981).
  • Alternativ-Entwurf Wiedergutmachung (1992). Entwurf eines Arbeitskreises deutscher, österreichischer und schweizerischer Strafrechtslehrer (J. Baumann, ed. Munich 1992).
  • Bakker, Mark William (1994). Repairing the Breach and Reconciling the Discordant: Mediation in the Criminal Justice System, 72 North Carolina Law Review 1479 (1994).
  • Braithwaite, John (1989). Crime, Shame, and Reintegration (Cambridge 1989).
  • Braithwaite, John & Pettit, Philip (1990). Not Just Deserts: A Republican Theory of Criminal Justice (Oxford 1990).
  • Chernoff, Harry A., Kelly, Christopher M., & Kroger, John R. (1996). The Politics of Crime, 33 Harvard Journal on Legislation 527 (1996).
  • Compassion in Dying v. Washington (1996). 79 F.3d 790 (9th Cir. 1996).
  • Corsilles, Angela (1994). No-Drop Policies in the Prosecution of Domestic Violence Cases: Guarantee to Action or Dangerous Solution?, 63 Fordham Law Review 853 (1994).
  • Coughlin, Anne M. (1994). Excusing Women, 82 California Law Review 1 (1994).
  • Coughlin, Anne M. (1998). Sex and Guilt, 84 Virginia Law Review 1 (1998).
  • Dershowitz, Alan M. The Abuse Excuse and Other Cop-Outs, Sob Stories, and Evasions of Responsibility (Boston 1994).
  • Dölling, Dieter (1992). Der Täter-Opfer-Ausgleich: Möglichkeiten und Grenzen einer neuen kriminalrechtlichen Reaktionsform, 1992 Juristenzeitung 493.
  • Dubber, Markus Dirk (1993). Regulating the Tender Heart When the Axe Is Ready to Strike, 41 Buffalo Law Review 85 (1993).
  • Dubber, Markus Dirk (1997). American Plea Bargains, German Lay Judges, and the Crisis of Criminal Procedure, 49 Stanford Law Review 547 (1997).
  • Dubber, Markus Dirk (1999). The Victim in American Penal Law: A Systematic Overview, 3 Buffalo Criminal Law Review 3 (1999).
  • Dubber, Markus Dirk (2002). Victims in the War on Crime: The Use and Abuse of Victims’ Rights (New York 2002).
  • Dubber, Markus Dirk & Schünemann, Bernd (1999). Symposium, Victims and the Criminal Law: American and German Perspectives, 3 Buffalo Criminal Law Review 1-316 (1999).
  • Fahey, Patrick M. (1992). Payne v. Tennessee: An Eye for an Eye and Then Some, 25 Connecticut Law Review 205 (1992).
  • Fletcher, George P. (1995). With Justice for Some: Protecting Victims’ Rights in Criminal Trials (Reading, Mass. 1995).
  • Frehsee, Detlev (1987). Schadenswiedergutmachung als Instrument strafrechtlicher Sozialkontrolle (Berlin 1987).
  • Gerarda Brown, Jennifer (1994). The Use of Mediation to Resolve Criminal Cases: A Procedural Critique, 43 Emory Law Journal 1247 (1994).
  • Hanna, Cheryl (1996). No Right to Choose: Mandated Victim Participation in Domestic Violence Prosecutions, 109 Harvard Law Review 1849 (1996).
  • Hassemer, Winfried & Reemtsma, Jan Philipp (2002). Verbrechensopfer: Gesetz und Gerechtigkeit (Munich 2002).
  • Hillenkamp, Thomas (1981). Vorsatztat und Opferverhalten (Göttingen 1981).
  • Hirsch, Hans Joachim (1989). Zur Stellung des Verletzten im Straf- und Strafverfahrensrecht: Über die Grenzen strafrechtlicher Aufgaben, in Gedächtnisschrift für Armin Kaufmann 699 (G. Dornseifer et al., eds. Köln 1989).
  • Hirsch, Hans Joachim (1990). Wiedergutmachung des Schadens im Rahmen des materiellen Strafrechts, 102 Zeitschrift für die gesamte Strafrechtswissenschaft 534 (1990).
  • von Hirsch, Andrew (1994). Doing Justice: The Choice of Punishments (New York 1976)
  • Houston, Julia A. (1994). Sex Offender Registration Acts: An Added Dimension to the War on Crime, 28 Georgia Law Review 729 (1994).
  • Laubenthal, Klaus (1995). Strafvollzug (Berlin 1995).
  • Levine, Murray (1996). The Psychological Sense of Community as an Evaluation Standard: The New Zealand Children, Young Persons and Their Families Act of 1989 (Baldy Working Papers 1996).
  • Long, Katie (1995). Community Input at Sentencing: Victim’s Right or Victim’s Revenge?, 75 Boston University Law Review 187 (1995).
  • Lüderssen, Klaus (1995). Die Verständigung im Strafrecht: Überlebensstrategie oder Paradigmawechsel?, in Abschaffen des Strafens? 323 (Frankfurt 1995).
  • Martinson, Robert (1974). What Works?–Questions and Answers About Prison Reform, Public Interest (Spring 1974), 22.
  • May, Mark W. (1989). Victims’ Rights and the Parole Hearing, 15 Journal of Contemporary Law 71 (1989).
  • Mead, George Herbert (1918). The Psychology of Punitive Justice, 23 American Journal of Sociology 577 (1918).
  • Moore, Shelby A.D. (1995). Battered Woman Syndrome: Selling the Shadow to Support the Substance, 38 Howard Law Journal 297 (1995).
  • Netzig, Lutz & Petzold, Frauke (1996). Wenn Neues nicht mehr neu ist: Erfolge, Probleme und Aussichten des Täter-Opfer-Ausgleichs im Erwachsenenbereich, in Forschungsthema “Kriminalität”: Festschrift für Heinz Barth 275 (C. Pfeiffer & W. Greve, eds., Baden-Baden 1996).
  • OEG (1985). Opferentschädigungsgesetz of Jan. 7, 1985 (BGBl. I, 1).
  • Pizzi, William T. & Perron, Walter (1996). Crime Victims in German Courtrooms: A Comparative Perspective on American Problems, 32 Stanford Journal of International Law 37 (1996).
  • Quill v. Vacco (1996). 80 F.3d 716 (2d Cir. 1996).
  • Roxin, Claus (1992). Zur Wiedergutmachung als einer “dritten Spur” im Sanktionensystem, in Festschrift für Jürgen Baumann zum 70. Geburtstag 243 (G. Arzt & U. Weber, eds. Bielefeld 1992).
  • Roxin, Claus (1993). Wiedergutmachung im strafrechtlichen Sanktionensystem, in Wege und Verfahren des Verfassungslebens: Festschrift für Peter Lerche zum 65. Geburtstag 301 (P. Badura & R. Scholz, eds. Munich 1993).
  • Schöch, Heinz (1987). Wiedergutmachung und Strafrecht (Schöch, H., ed. Munich 1987).
  • Schöch, Heinz (1992). Empfehlen sich Änderungen und Ergänzungen bei den strafrechtlichen Sanktionen ohne Freiheitsentzug? Gutachten C zum 59. DJT in Hannover 1992 (Munich 1992).
  • Schünemann, Bernd (1982). Einige vorläufige Bemerkungen zur Bedeutung des viktimologischen Ansatzes in der Strafrechtsdogmatik, in Das Verbrechensopfer in der Strafrechtspflege 407 (H.J. Schneider, ed. Berlin 1982).
  • Schünemann, Bernd (1984). Die Zukunft der Viktimo-Dogmatik, in Festschrift für Hans Joachim Faller 357 (W. Zeidler et al., eds. Munich 1984).
  • Schünemann, Bernd (1986a). The Future of the Victiminological Approach to the Interpretation of Criminal Law, in Victimology in Comparative Perspective 150 (K. Miyazawa & M. Ohya, eds. Tokyo 1986).
  • Schünemann, Bernd (1986b). Zur Stellung des Opfers im System der Strafrechtspflege, 6 Neue Zeitschrift für Strafrecht 193 (1986).
  • Schünemann, Bernd (1996). Die Missachtung der sexuellen Selbstbestimmung des Ehepartners als kriminalpolitisches Problem, 1996 Goltdammer’s Archiv 307.
  • Schünemann, Bernd & Dubber, Markus Dirk (2000). Die Stellung des Opfers im Strafrechtssystem: Neue Entwicklungen im deutschen und amerikanischen Recht (Cologne 2000).
  • Seelmann, Kurt (1989). Paradoxien der Opferorientierung im Strafrecht, 1989 Juristenzeitung 670.
  • Sessar, Klaus (1983). Schadenswiedergutmachung in einer künftigen Kriminalpolitik, in Kriminologie–Psychiatrie–Strafrecht: Festschrift für Heinz Leferenz 145 (H.-J. Kerner et al., eds. Heidelberg 1983).
  • Sitton, Jaye (1993). Old Wine in New Bottles: The “Marital” Rape Allowance, 72 North Carolina Law Review 261 (1993).
  • Toruella, Juan R. (1997). The “War on Drugs”: One Judge’s Attempt at a Rational Discussion, 14 Yale Journal on Regulation 235 (1997).
  • Trenczek, Thomas (1992). Täter-Opfer-Ausgleich: Grundgedanken und Mindeststandards, 1992 Zeitschrift für Rechtspolitik 130.
  • Trenczek, Thomas (1996). Restitution: Wiedergutmachung, Schadensersatz oder Strafe? (Baden Baden 1996).
  • Warren, Euphemia B. (1995). She’s Gotta Have It Now: A Qualified Rape Crisis Counselor-Victim Privilege, 17 Cardozo Law Review 141 (1995).

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