Friday, June 17, 2011

New Rights for Victims Proposed

A couple of weeks ago, new European measures to help people who fall victim to crime abroad were proposed. With more and more Brits travelling to other European countries for holidays, long weekends and business trips, it is really important that if you fall victim to a crime whilst out of the country you get adequate support and protection.

For many people who become victims of crime, their dream holiday can turn into a nightmare. According to Eurostat, around 30 million crimes against persons or property are committed every year in the EU, with many more going unreported.

One of these 30 million victims is Robbie Hughes, who was violently attacked in Crete in 2008. Robbie sustained life-threatening injuries and while his mother Maggie tirelessly helped to support him whilst he was still in hospital in Greece, she found there was no real help, support or advice for victims of serious injuries. As a result of the ordeal, Maggie started a campaign "Please Enjoy- Don't Destroy", in order to help give support and advice to families who find themselves in similar situations. Her campaign, supported by the GMB union, has been very influential in helping bring these proposals about, so much so that she was invited to attend the launch of the new rights package in Brussels.

The new proposals, outlined by European Commissioner for Justice Viviane Reding, include minimum standards on the rights, support and protection victims of crime receive. There are special provisions to protect vulnerable victims, such as children, victims of rape and people with disabilities.

The proposals also mean that victims of violence who benefit from restraining orders in their home country can have the same protection measures in place when they move or travel to another EU country.

This is another good example of how the EU can work together to solve cross border problems. People can fall victim to crime anywhere, and we should be able to expect, in the EU at least, to be able to receive help when we most need it. I look forward to the measures coming before the Parliament for scrutinising in the next couple of months.

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