The New Recommendatio of the CoE Committee of Ministers on Rights, Services and Support for Victims of Crime
We are pleased to inform that Recommendation CM/Rec(2023)2 of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe on rights, services and support for victims of crime has recently been issued, with the aim to replace and update the previous Recommendation (2006)8 of the Committee of Ministers on assistance to crime victims.
The Recommendation CM/Rec(2023)2 is the result of a renewed focus on the rights of the victims of a crime, in the light of an increased awareness of the need for updated and more detailed guidance on the development and practical implementation of their rights.
Within the general framework of an invitation to the Member States of the Council of Europe to actively remove the obstacles that crime victims face within the justice system, the Recommendation thus provides clear coordinates for the (re)orientation of national policies on the matter, through an appendix divided into three chapters and consisting of 26 articles.
The first chapter (arts. 3-6) focuses on the need to remove barriers that hinder victims’ access to justice and support services – also through the implementation of adequate information mechanisms, hierarchically listed by importance (Art. 6) – as well as on the opportunity of an individualized assessment of their protection needs, capable of considering any vulnerability due to age, physical or psychological condition or disability.
The second chapter (arts. 7-16), focused on supporting strategies in the procedural and trial context, outlines the fundamental prerogatives of victims in such phase: among others, the right to make a formal complaint and to receive legal assistance and information about their case; the right to interpretation and translation; the right to be heard and to obtain compensation from the offender or the State.
Finally, in the third chapter (arts. 17-26) the Recommendation confirms and corroborates the need to extend as much as possible the access to Restorative Justice services in criminal matters already expressed by Recommendation CM/Rec 2018(8). An innovative profile is furthermore represented by the specific attention devoted to the special needs of cross-border victims and the related issue of international cooperation.
Although not being a binding source such as a Directive, the Recommendation CM/Rec(2023)2 nevertheless represents an up-to-date and precise “compass” to guide legislation and policy making in the field of victims protection within the Member States of the Council of Europe.