It is estimated that every year 75 million people across Europe continue to fall victims of crime. Persons with disabilities are at high risk of becoming victims and survivors of crimes, including violence, hate speech and crime, and harassment. For example, women with disabilities are two to five times more likely to face violence than other women, and 34 % of women with a health problem or a disability have experienced physical or sexual violence by a partner in their lifetime.
With the adoption of the Victims’ Rights Directive and the Victims’ Rights Strategy 2020-2025, the European Commission and EU Member States committed to advance the rights of victims of crime. The EU and all its Member States also all ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). Under the CRPD they have an obligation to ensure the rights of all victims with disabilities, including their right to information, reporting, access to victims’ support services and access to justice.
However, it is still very difficult for victims with disabilities all over Europe to claim their rights due to discrimination, double-victimisation, lack of accessible information, support and protection.
The European Disability Forum (EDF) is concerned that EU Member States do not effectively ensure the rights of victims’ with disabilities enshrined in the Victims’ Rights Directive and the CRPD.
In light of the scope of the call for evidence on Criminal justice – EU rules on victims’ rights and the evaluation of the Victims’ Rights Strategy in which it took part, EDF recommends that the European Commission amend its legislation (policy options 2 and 3) to strengthen the rights of all victims of crimes in the European Union.
In particular the European Commission should:
- Strengthen its legal basis by referring and aligning with the rights enshrined in the UN Convention on the rights of Persons with Disabilities, the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence (Istanbul Convention) and other key international instruments
- Ensure that all victims can report crimes, including victims in closed setting such as persons in institutions, as well as migrants and victims in detention (sub-option b – broader scope of the legislative amendment)
- Include enhanced binding provisions on accessibility of information on victims’ rights, victims’ support services and the justice system for persons with disabilities
- Strengthen the legal provision on training of practitioners to ensure that they are trained on the rights and needs of victims with disabilities, including all types of disability and paying particular attention to children and women with disabilities
- Require the collection of disaggregated data on victims by age, gender, disability and other relevant grounds such as ethnicity and religion
- Require Member States to sanction the violation of victims’ rights and double-victimisation
Download the position paper below
- EDF input consultation EU rules on victims’ rights (PDF document)
- EDF input consultation EU rules on victims’ rights (Word document)