AuthorMichael O'Flaherty
Crime harms individual victims, their loved ones, as well as society as a whole.
Its effects are multi-faceted, causing physical, psychological and material injury.
Fear of crime can be almost equally damaging, often changing how people
live their daily lives.
Crime undermines the individual rights of victims, including their core
fundamental rights, such as the right to life and human dignity. The EU Charter
of Fundamental Rights obliges states to protect these rights. The Charter and
the Victims’ Rights Directive also give victims a right to redress and to be treated
without discrimination. In addition, victims’ property and consumer protection
rights can be affected.
This report presents results from FRA’s Fundamental Rights Survey – the f‌irst
EU-wide survey to collect comparable data on people’s experiences with,
concern about, and responses to select types of crime. It focuses on violence
and harassment, as well as on certain property crimes. The survey reached
out to 35,000 people in the EU, the United Kingdom and North Macedonia.
Many EU Member States carry out crime victimisation surveys. But these
surveys cover different time periods and types of crime, and phrase questions
differently. This makes it diff‌icult to compare f‌indings. FRA’s survey used the
same questionnaire in all countries covered. As such, it is an important new
data source to inform both policy efforts and action on the ground.
The results underscore that some people are more vulnerable to crime than
others. The young – aged between 16 and 29 – experience both more physical
violence and harassment, on- and off‌line. So do people who do not identify
as heterosexual, and people who have disabilities or health issues that limit
their activities.
Gender differences are also striking. Men most often face violence in public
settings, while women often encounter threats in their own home. Women
also face more harassment of a sexual nature.
Not surprisingly, more women than men avoid certain places or people to avoid
the risk of harm. Shockingly, 83 % of women aged between 16 and 29 limit
where they go or who they spend time with to protect themselves.
Among property crimes, consumer fraud looms large, though rates vary greatly
from country to country. Large differences across the Union may also stem
from cultural differences. For example, experiences with misuse of online bank
accounts or payment cards differ considerably – suggesting that their use is
not equally common.
Surveys have long shown low crime reporting rates. Our survey also reveals a
certain pragmatism. While most violence and harassment is not reported, most
people do report property crimes, largely because they need a police report
for their insurance claim.

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