The Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA) has released its annual Fundamental Rights Report. This report reviews major developments in 2019, identifying both achievements and areas of concern. It also presents FRA’s opinions on these developments.
Chapter 8 of the Report focuses on access to justice highlighting the gaps in victims access to compensation. The European Council December 2019 Conclusions recognised this and adopted a Strategy on victims’ rights. This led to the Commission drawing up the EU Strategy on Victims’ Rights (2020-2025).
This move had been catalysed by reports from FRA and Victim Support Europe (VSE). These reports highlighted the many obstacles facing victims when accessing compensation such as victims not knowing about the right to compensation; police officers not referring them to support services; complex reporting deadlines and lengthy procedures causing difficulty. VSE’s Report concluded that EU Member States “currently operate a system where state compensation is regarded as a ‘last resort’, accessible only after all other sources of compensation have been exhausted.”
Whilst noting that many Member States, e.g. Netherlands, have made steps to enhance the right to compensation in 2018, it underlines the necessity that victims of violent crime are able to access effective compensation. In addition, it notes that the European Court of Human Rights has enlarged the scope of compensation to non-pecuniary losses, including “pain, stress, anxiety and frustration”.
This is why Justice at Last has joined VSE One Voice One Cause campaign to raise awareness of victims’ rights across Europe.
Read the full FRA report here.