Your Rights as Victim of an Offence

Victims of crime and other offences in the EU can receive protection, support, and access to justice under EU law and have the right to:

  • Understand and to be understood: all communication with victims must be provided in a simple and accessible language. The form of communication must be adapted to the specific needs of every victim (nationality, any disability, age, language).
  • Information: national authorities give victims a range of information concerning their rights, their case, and the services and assistance available to them. The information must be given from the first contact with a competent authority and without delay.
  • Support: access to support services free of charge that can also be confidential. Support must include both general support services and specialist support services such as shelters, trauma support, and counselling, specifically adapted to different types of victims.
  • Participate in criminal proceedings:
  1. Be informed if the alleged offender will not be prosecuted and have the right appeal if they do not agree with the decision.
  2. Compensation. If restorative justice proceeding is used in the national system, there are now safeguards in place to ensure victims’ safe participation.
  • Protection and individual assessment: victims must be protected from both the offender and from risk of further harm by the criminal justice system itself. The protection needs are based on an individual assessment.

Consult the Commission’s webpage on victim’s rights, and the Directive establishing minimum standards on the rights, support and protection of victims of crime.

Your Rights as Suspect or Accused of an Offence

EU citizens or residents who are suspected or accused of an offence in the EU have the right to:

Consult the Commission’s webpage on rights of suspect and accused.

Your Rights as Suspect or Accused of an Offence

Persons who are suspected or accused of an offence also have rights that must be respected in all EU countries:

  • the right to information,
  • the right to interpretation and translation,
  • the right to have a lawyer,
  • the right to be presumed innocent and to be represented at trial, and,
  • the right to legal aid.

There are also special safeguards for children suspected and accused in criminal proceedings. For instance, children who are suspects or accused in criminal cases have the right to an individual assessment that identifies their specific needs in terms of protection.

For further reading, please see the Commission’s webpage on rights of suspect and accused. 

In 2021, the European Commission has launched a survey and consultations to assess whether new rules to protect the rights of vulnerable adults suspected and accused of crimes should be adopted.