Revision of the victims’ rights acquis

In “A New Push for European Democracy”

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In its 2022 Work Programme, the European Commission announced a possible revision of the victims' rights acquis, in order to improve victims’ access to justice, enhance their rights to information about the available compensation and strengthen their physical protection. The Commission planned to adopt a legislative proposal in the fourth quarter of the year (Q4 2022), which could take the form of a revision of the victims' rights directive or of another legislative instrument.

In June 2022, the European Commission published its evaluation of the victim's rights directive (Directive 2012/29/EU) which aimed at assessing to what extent the directive has achieved its objectives in terms of its implementation and practical application in EU countries. Despite general positive assessment of the directive's role in enhancing the situation of victims across the EU, the evaluation identified a number of shortcomings, e.g. in relation to victims’ access to information, victims’ access to support services and to protection in accordance with each victim's individual needs. It also pointed to the need to enable victims to play a more active role in criminal proceedings and to provide them with easier access to compensation.

In parallel to the evaluation, Commission conducted a public consultation between 8 March and 31 May 2022 to gather citizens' and stakeholders' views on possible policy options to feed into the impact assessment for the revision of the current EU rules.

In September 2022, in its resolution on the situation of fundamental rights in the EU, the European Parliament welcomed the Commission’s decision to organise a public consultation on updating Directive 2012/29/EU, with the aim of effectively enhancing the assistance and protection provided to victims, including the victims of terrorism, and recognising the importance of preserving their dignity. In an earlier 2020 resolution on Security Union strategy, the European Parliament called on the Member States to ensure the full and correct implementation of the Victims’ Rights Directive and other EU rules on victims’ rights.

On 12 July 2023, the Commission published the revision of the Victims' Rights Directive. It was accompanied by the Impact Assessment Report. 

On 11 September 2023 the proposal was referred to the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE), with Javier Zarzalejos (EPP, Spain) as the rapporteur. Committee on Women's Rights and Gender Equality (FEMM) was added as the joint committee on the file, with María Soraya Rodríguez Ramos (Renew, Spain) as rapporteur. Committee on Legal Affairs (JURI) decided not to give their opinion. Draft report was published on 13 November 2023, with the deadline for amendments on 8 December 2023. Amendments were considered on 24 January 2024. The Committees adopted a draft position on the file on 14 March 2024. The decision to enter interinstitutional negotiations with the Council was confirmed in April I plenary, on 11 April 2024.

In the Council, the proposal was on the agenda of the meeting of the Working Party on Judicial Cooperation in Criminal Matters (COPEN) on 22 September 2023. EU Justice Ministers discussed the file on 4 December 2023. The file was again on the agenda of COPEN on several occasions, including 10 January 2024, 23 February 2024, 15 March 2024 and 17 April 2024. The Council finalised its position on 13 June 2024. The position supports improvements in crime reporting and access to support services and support on court premises. It also supports easily accessible, user friendly, free and confidential victim helplines in each Member State.  Child-friendly and age-appropriate support and protection support and protection services will need to be ensured. 

The European Economic and Social Committee adopted their opinion on 14 December 2023.

The deadline for the national parliaments to give their opinion was 27 October 2023.


Further reading

Author: Martina Prpic, Members' Research Service,

As of 20/06/2024.