“The big difference between official crime figures and people’s experience of crime gives us an idea of the true level of crime in the EU. The results show that young people, people who do not identify as heterosexual and people with disabilities are particularly affected by crime, ”says FRA Director Michael O’Flaherty. “The EU has legislation to safeguard the rights of victims of crime, which is enshrined in the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights. National governments must do more to ensure that victims have their rights and provide the support they need. “
Victims are often unaware of their rights or remain voiceless. They do not report crimes for fear of retaliation or intimidation of perpetrators.
The FRA report on Crime, Security and Victims ‘Rights should help national policymakers to meet their international obligations and EU law on victims’ rights. It complements the EU Victims’ Rights Strategy, which aims to empower victims of crime to report them more frequently. It calls on the Member States:
- Ensure access to justice: Almost one in ten EU citizens (9%) had been exposed to violence within five years of the survey, between 3% and 18% depending on the country. For harassment it is 41% in the EU – between 15% and 62% at national level. Countries should provide adequate information, support and protection to all victims, including the most vulnerable, and enable their participation in criminal proceedings. This also applies to online settings.
- Offer targeted support: Almost a quarter of young people (23% of 16 to 29 year olds) and a fifth of people who identify themselves as LGBTI (19%) have a disability (17%) or come from an ethnic minority (22%) that they have been the victims of physical attack in the past five years. Countries should pay particular attention to the specific needs of different groups in order to better protect them from violence. You should also inform them of their rights in an understandable way.
- Support women better: Over a third of physical violence against women (37%) takes place at home, with psychological after-effects in 69% of victims. Almost three in four cases of sexual harassment (72%) against women are committed by someone they do not know. Most of these incidents occur in public. Countries should ensure a gender-based approach when it comes to legal sanctions, education and training, protection and support of victims’ rights. This includes crime prevention by educating men who are mostly the perpetrators.
- Facilitating the reporting of criminal offenses: Only a third (30%) of the victims report their physical attack and a tenth (11%) their cases of harassment to the police. Reporting levels vary from country to country, reflecting cultural differences and different levels of trust. People who are older, have a lower level of education, or have difficulty making ends meet are generally less willing to engage law enforcement. Countries must do more to encourage people and make it easier for them to report crimes. This includes using other avenues such as civil society or health care to record incidents of crime, inform victims of their rights and refer them to relevant support services.
The report captures the views of 35,000 people and their experiences of violence, harassment, burglary and consumer fraud and the impact on victims. The results also examine people’s views on safety and their willingness to act on witnesses to a crime.
It is part of a series of reports that explore people’s views and experiences of fundamental rights. The results are based on responses to the FRA Fundamental Rights Survey from all EU Member States, North Macedonia and the UK. It ran from January to October 2019.
Ipsos MORI collected the data on behalf of FRA in collaboration with Statistics Netherlands (CBS) in the Netherlands, the Center des Technologies de l’Information de l’Etat (CTIE) in Luxembourg and Statistics Austria in Austria.
Take part in the FRA Online Panel Discussion on Crime, Victims and Rights: What Can EU Countries Do to Strengthen Victims’ Rights? on February 19, 2021 at 10:30 a.m. CET.
Visit the questions and answers in the online data explorer Press package or contact: [email protected] / Tel .: +43 1 580 30 653
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