Holidays are for relaxing and having fun. But, for EU citizens who become victims of crime while they are in another EU member state, dealing with a foreign justice system can often feel like a nightmare. Language difficulties, patchy communication with family back home and a lack of knowledge about the local system all contribute.
Viviane Reding, the EU Justice Commissioner, said: “The victim finds himself or herself nowhere, and is victimised a second time, a third time, because nobody cares, and so this has to be changed.”
The European Commission is therefore proposing minimum standards for helping crime victims across the EU, including the provision of clear information and special protection for child victims.
Maggie Hughes, a UK campaigner for victims’ rights, said: “We have a fantastic victim-support office in England. But the problem in our case was, because my son was a victim of crime abroad, we couldn’t tap into that because we were abroad.”
The Commission cited the UK’s Victim Support service as exemplary, saying that victims of crime in Britain had confidence that someone would help them, also praising the special victim support training given to judges, prosecutors and police.