Directive 2012/29/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 October 2012 establishing minimum standards on the rights, support and protection of victims of crime, and replacing Council Framework Decision 2001/220/JHA

Original version:<a href='/vid/directive-2012-29-eu-843397100'>Directive 2012/29/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 October 2012 establishing minimum standards on the rights, support and protection of victims of crime, and replacing Council Framework Decision 2001/220/JHA</a>



Official Journal of the European Union

L 315/57


of 25 October 2012

establishing minimum standards on the rights, support and protection of victims of crime, and replacing Council Framework Decision 2001/220/JHA


Having regard to the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, and in particular Article 82(2) thereof,

Having regard to the proposal from the European Commission,

After transmission of the draft legislative act to the national parliaments,

Having regard to the opinion of the European Economic and Social Committee (1),

Having regard to the opinion of the Committee of the Regions (2),

Acting in accordance with the ordinary legislative procedure (3),



The Union has set itself the objective of maintaining and developing an area of freedom, security and justice, the cornerstone of which is the mutual recognition of judicial decisions in civil and criminal matters.


The Union is committed to the protection of, and to the establishment of minimum standards in regard to, victims of crime and the Council has adopted Framework Decision 2001/220/JHA of 15 March 2001 on the standing of victims in criminal proceedings (4). Under the Stockholm Programme – An open and secure Europe serving and protecting citizens (5), adopted by the European Council at its meeting on 10 and 11 December 2009, the Commission and the Member States were asked to examine how to improve legislation and practical support measures for the protection of victims, with particular attention paid to, support for and recognition of, all victims, including for victims of terrorism, as a priority.


Article 82(2) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) provides for the establishment of minimum rules applicable in the Member States to facilitate mutual recognition of judgments and judicial decisions and police and judicial cooperation in criminal matters having a cross-border dimension, in particular with regard to the rights of victims of crime.


In its resolution of 10 June 2011 on a roadmap for strengthening the rights and protection of victims, in particular in criminal proceedings (6) (‘the Budapest roadmap’), the Council stated that action should be taken at Union level in order to strengthen the rights of, support for, and protection of victims of crime. To that end and in accordance with that resolution, this Directive aims to revise and supplement the principles set out in Framework Decision 2001/220/JHA and to take significant steps forward in the level of protection of victims throughout the Union, in particular within the framework of criminal proceedings.


The resolution of the European Parliament of 26 November 2009 on the elimination of violence against women (7) called on the Member States to improve their national laws and policies to combat all forms of violence against women and to act in order to tackle the causes of violence against women, not least by employing preventive measures, and called on the Union to guarantee the right to assistance and support for all victims of violence.


In its resolution of 5 April 2011 on priorities and outline of a new EU policy framework to fight violence against women (8) the European Parliament proposed a strategy to combat violence against women, domestic violence and female genital mutilation as a basis for future legislative criminal-law instruments against gender-based violence including a framework to fight violence against women (policy, prevention, protection, prosecution, provision and partnership) to be followed up by a Union action plan. International regulation within this area includes the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) adopted on 18 December 1979, the CEDAW Committee's recommendations and decisions, and the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence adopted on 7 April 2011.


Directive 2011/99/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 13 December 2011 on the European protection order (9) establishes a mechanism for the mutual recognition of protection measures in criminal matters between Member States. Directive 2011/36/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 5 April 2011 on preventing and combating trafficking in human beings and protecting its victims (10) and Directive 2011/93/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 13 December 2011 on combating the sexual abuse and sexual exploitation of children and child pornography (11) address, inter alia, the specific needs of the particular categories of victims of human trafficking, child sexual abuse, sexual exploitation and child pornography.


Council Framework Decision 2002/475/JHA of 13 June 2002 on combating terrorism (12) recognises that terrorism constitutes one of the most serious violations of the principles on which the Union is based, including the principle of democracy, and confirms that it constitutes, inter alia, a threat to the free exercise of human rights.


Crime is a wrong against society as well as a violation of the individual rights of victims. As such, victims of crime should be recognised and treated in a respectful, sensitive and professional manner without discrimination of any kind based on any ground such as race, colour, ethnic or social origin, genetic features, language, religion or belief, political or any other opinion, membership of a national minority, property, birth, disability, age, gender, gender expression, gender identity, sexual orientation, residence status or health. In all contacts with a competent authority operating within the context of criminal proceedings, and any service coming into contact with victims, such as victim support or restorative justice services, the personal situation and immediate needs, age, gender, possible disability and maturity of victims of crime should be taken into account while fully respecting their physical, mental and moral integrity. Victims of crime should be protected from secondary and repeat victimisation, from intimidation and from retaliation, should receive appropriate support to facilitate their recovery and should be provided with sufficient access to justice.


This Directive does not address the conditions of the residence of victims of crime in the territory of the Member States. Member States should take the necessary measures to ensure that the rights set out in this Directive are not made conditional on the victim's residence status in their territory or on the victim's citizenship or nationality. Reporting a crime and participating in criminal proceedings do not create any rights regarding the residence status of the victim.


This Directive lays down minimum rules. Member States may extend the rights set out in this Directive in order to provide a higher level of protection.


The rights set out in this Directive are without prejudice to the rights of the offender. The term ‘offender’ refers to a person who has been convicted of a crime. However, for the purposes of this Directive, it also refers to a suspected or accused person before any acknowledgement of guilt or conviction, and it is without prejudice to the presumption of innocence.


This Directive applies in relation to criminal offences committed in the Union and to criminal proceedings that take place in the Union. It confers rights on victims of extra-territorial offences only in relation to criminal proceedings that take place in the Union. Complaints made to competent authorities outside the Union, such as embassies, do not trigger the obligations set out in this Directive.


In applying this Directive, children's best interests must be a primary consideration, in accordance with the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child adopted on 20 November 1989. Child victims should be considered and treated as the full bearers of rights set out in this Directive and should be entitled to exercise those rights in a manner that takes into account their capacity to form their own views.


In applying this Directive, Member States should ensure that victims with disabilities are able to benefit fully from the rights set out in this Directive, on an equal basis with others, including by facilitating the accessibility to premises where criminal proceedings are conducted and access to information.


Victims of terrorism have suffered attacks that are intended ultimately to harm society. They may therefore need special attention, support and protection due to the particular nature of the crime that has been committed against them. Victims of terrorism can be under significant public scrutiny and often need social recognition and respectful treatment by society. Member States should therefore take particular account of the needs of victims of terrorism, and should seek to protect their dignity and security.


Violence that is directed against a person because of that person's gender, gender identity or gender expression or that affects persons of a particular gender disproportionately, is understood as gender-based violence. It may result in physical, sexual, emotional or psychological harm, or economic loss, to the victim...

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