European Day for Victims of Crime Date in the current year: February 22, 2024

European Day for Victims of Crime European Day for Victims of Crime is celebrated annually on February 22. It was established in 1990 by Victim Support Europe, Europe’s leading umbrella organization advocating on behalf of victims of crime.

Being a victim of crime is something that can happen to anyone. According to statistics, an estimated 15% of Europeans (75 million people in the European Union or 120 million people in the Council of Europe member states) fall victim to serious crime every year. In the European Union, all crime victims have a set of rights that are protected by law regardless of where in the EU the crime occurred.

The needs of victims of crime vary on case-by-case-basis, but they are generally grouped into five broad categories:

  1. Victims of crime have the right to be recognized as victims and to be treated with respect.
  2. Victims of crime have the right to be protected from further harm, intimidation or retaliation by the suspected or accused, as well as from harm during investigations and proceedings.
  3. Victims of crime have the right for various kinds of assistance and support, including immediate assistance, practical assistance, and long-term assistance (both physical and psychological).
  4. Victims of crime have the right to receive access to justice and participate in court proceedings.
  5. Victims of crime have the right to receive compensation through whatever channels and procedures are available.

The basic rights of victims of crimes in the European Union are established by the Victims’ Rights Directive. The member states of the European Union are supposed to implement the provisions of the Directive into their national laws.

In addition, the European Union has adopted special sets of rules for certain groups of victims in order to address their specific needs. These groups include, for example, victims of terrorism, victims of human trafficking, and child victims of sexual exploitation and child pornography.

The EU Victims’ Rights Platform was inaugurated in 2020. Its main purpose is to bring together key actors relevant for victims’ rights in order to ensure a more horizontal approach to the issue. The Platform is currently composed of 34 members that include representatives of relevant agencies, networks, bodies and civil society organizations.

European Day for Victims of Crime was launched in order to empower victims of crime, educate them on their rights, and encourage them to report crimes to authorities, with a specific focus on the most vulnerable groups of victims such as victims of racist and xenophobic hate crimes, gender-based violence or child sexual abuse.

Events dedicated to European Day for Victims of Crime are held by a number of European organizations that focus on crime victims’ rights such as Victim Support Europe, the European Forum of Restorative Justice, and more.

On the same day as European Day of Victims of Crime, Poland observes its own Crime Victims Day. It is a statutory holiday adopted by the Sejm in 2003 that kicks off the annual Crime Victims Aid Week.

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European Day for Victims of Crime, international observances, observances in Europe, Victim Support Europe, Victims’ Rights Directive