UK 'Opts In' On Victim's Rights Law

British victims of crime will now be awarded new minimum rights after the UK signed up to a European Directive.

In May the European Commission set out draft proposals for an EU Directive that would establish standard rights for EU citizens who fall victim to crime in another EU country.

The Directive includes requirements that victims are treated with respect and are provided with information on their rights and their case in a way they understand, the EU has said.

Labour's Shadow Justice Minister, Rob Flello, welcomed the Government’s decision to opt in saying that British victims of crime in EU states will now receive guaranteed levels of support.

"We have been urging the Government to opt in to this directive for some time and are pleased that British victims of crime in EU states will now receive guaranteed levels of support. With the wording of the directive still to be agreed, the Government must now ensure that it takes a central role in committing member states to providing the greatest level of support to victims.

However, Mr Flello added that despite the announcement, the Government still has a long way to go to ensuring victims are placed firmly at the heart of our own justice system.

"For example, the Government’s continued delay in compensating British victims of terrorism abroad, as introduced by the previous Labour Government, its cuts to victims' support services, and its cuts to legal aid and their refusal to provide a coronial system fit for the 21st century, shows that regrettably this Government do not see the support available to victims as a top policy priority."

"The Labour Justice team will continue to monitor how the Government supports victims of crime and how it changes the justice system to reflect this."

The Directive will also set out requirements that victims have access to support services, which provide information and emotional support, that victims should have the right to participate in court proceedings if they want, and that vulnerable victims are identified and properly protected during police investigations and court proceedings.

In a Ministry of Justice (MoJ) statement on Tuesday, Justice Minister Nick Herbert said: "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," Herbert said.

The establishment of new EU-wide protection orders, detailed in separate European Commission draft regulations, will also offer better support to individuals, the MOJ statement said.


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