The EU Directive on Victims of Crime comes into force today, Monday 16 November 2015, and aims to establish a minimum level of victims’ rights across the European Union.

Every year, more than 75 million people fall victim to crime across Europe. The Directive will ensure that all victims of crime receive the same level of support and protection, regardless of where they live or where in the EU the crime took place.

In England and Wales, the current Victims’ Code has been expanded to comply with the Directive. From today, the revised Code will:

  1. Broaden the definition of a victim to include victims of all criminal offences, not just the more serious criminal offences reported under the National Crime Reporting Standards (NCRS). Previously, victims of certain crimes, such as drink driving, were not entitled to support under the Code.
  2. Ensure that victims are entitled to receive support and information from all relevant public sector bodies, not just the police and Crown Prosecution Service.
  3. Entitle all victims who report a crime to receive a written acknowledgement from the police.

Changes to the Victims’ Code in England and Wales could increase the number of crimes eligible for support services by up to 1.3 million per year, enabling more victims of crime to get the support they need.

Lucy Hastings, Director for Victim Support, said: “The EU Directive on Victims of Crime and changes to the Victims’ Code in England and Wales will help to strengthen victims’ rights across Europe. We welcome the fact that these changes will entitle all victims of crime to the services and support they need, regardless of where in the EU that crime took place.”

You can help to raise awareness of the EU Directive and victims’ rights using the hashtag #VictimsRights on Twitter.