Article 1 – Objectives

Article 1 – Objectives

1) The purpose of this Directive is to ensure that victims of crime are able to report crime, receive appropriate information, support and protection and are able to participate in criminal proceedings, in a safe manner that minimises the risk of harm, and supports recovery and access to justice.  

Member States shall ensure that victims are recognised and treated in a respectful, sensitive, tailored, professional and non-discriminatory manner, in all contacts with victim support or restorative justice services or a competent authority, operating within the context of criminal proceedings.  

2) The rights set out in this Directive shall apply to victims in a non-discriminatory manner, including with respect to their residence status, and with respect to their race, colour, ethnic or social origin, genetic features, language, religion or belief, political or any other opinion, membership of a national minority, property, birth, disability, age, gender, gender expression, gender identity, sex, sexual orientation, residence status or health. In respecting equality principles Member States shall ensure that obligations on the accessibility of victims with disabilities are fully respected in the implementation of rights and services in this Directive, including by ensuring that victims with disabilities can benefit from such rights and services directly and not through third parties. 

3) Member States shall ensure that in the application of this Directive, where the victim is a child, the child’s best interests shall be a primary consideration and shall be assessed on an individual basis. A child-sensitive approach, taking due account of the child’s age, maturity, views, needs and concerns, shall prevail. The child and the holder of parental responsibility or other legal representative, if any, shall be informed of any measures or rights specifically focused on the child.  

4) Member States shall ensure that all laws, policies, services, and infrastructures established to implement this Directive are victim-sensitive, prioritising listening to victims, minimising re-traumatisation and harm, focusing on safety, rights, well-being, empowerment, expressed needs and choices, and ensuring the empathetic, sensitive and non-judgmental delivery of rights and services, while respecting core principles of justice. 

COMMENTARY – Article 1

VSE suggests further clarification is needed of the Directive’s objectives which explicitly sets out key concepts – such as a victim-sensitive approach to improve implementation by Member States.

While EU Member States increasingly include victims’ voices, perspectives, and experiences within their criminal justice systems, many are still limited in their provision of giving victims a voice, reducing the harm they encounter, ensuring a victim-sensitive approach, and maximising their positive experience and the outcomes of proceedings[1].  Including these key principles[2] within the Directive will focus Member States’ attention, support critical behaviour change and ensure they are mainstreamed when Member States implement the Directive’s provisions.

When determining relevant action, Member States should determine objectives not only on the type of crime but also based on victims’ individual characteristics (age, disabilities, etc), the severity of the crime, possible bias/discrimination and victims at specific risks of repeat and secondary victimisation; and adapt their response to such needs by means of a victim-sensitive approach. Victims with disabilities continue to face many issues when they try to get support and access justice because of the lack of accessible victims’ services to victims with disabilities, including shelters, legal aid and psychological support[3]. Bias and discrimination based on disability – included in the Commission’s proposal under Article 26c – should be addressed in line with Member States’ obligations arising from international obligations such as the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UN CRPD). VSE reflects the Commission’s proposals taking into account that it largely emphasises pre-existing obligations of States towards victims with the exception of direct access to rights.

[1] Safe justice for victims of crime, Victim Support Europe, 2023, available at:

[2] Safe justice for victims of crime, Victim Support Europe, 2023, available at: