Article 36 – National coordination and cooperation framework

Article 36 – National coordination and cooperation framework

1) Member States shall establish a national coordination and cooperation framework to facilitate the development, implementation and delivery of victims’ rights, communications and support services in a consistent, efficient, co-ordinated and targeted manner.

2) Member States shall ensure that the development of victims’ rights addresses the needs and circumstances of all victims of crime whilst also providing adapted solutions for specific victim groups. Specialised solutions for specific groups of victims should be extended to other groups of victims where they will also benefit from such solutions.

3) Member States shall ensure the existence and regular review of:

a) A National Victims’ Rights Strategy that sets out long term priorities, objectives, and actions to develop rights and services for all victims of crime
A National Victims’ Rights Coordinator and Victims’ Rights Coordinating Committee responsible for co-ordinating the development and implementation of the National Victims’ Rights Strategy, national policy and procedures related to victims’ rights, and activities and actors across different sectors;
An independent Victims’ Commissioner responsible for promoting and safeguarding the interests of victims including by conducting inquiries into systemic issues that affect large numbers or particular groups of victims of crime, representing the concerns of victims of crime to government and other decision-making bodies, monitoring and reporting on how agencies meet their legal obligations to victims under national or European law, investigating complaints from victims of crime who believe their rights and entitlements under the national law have not been met by an investigatory body, prosecuting agency and/or victims’ service[1].
d) A national referral mechanism to co-ordinate a national system for referring victims between competent authorities and victims support services in accordance with Article 13.

4) Member States shall ensure that civil society, in particular victim support services, and victims are included in the decision-making process and coordination mechanisms.

[1] Drafting inspired by: Bill proposal to Scottish parliament on a victims commissioner ; Responsibilities of the Victoria (Australia) commissioner ; England Victim Commissioner role

COMMENTARY – Article 36

The European Commission introduced an amendment which relates to national coordination and cooperation in Article 26a (Protocols through national coordination and cooperation). VSE welcomes this positive step in requiring Member States to establish protocols for organising the provision of ‘services and actions’ under the Directive. The article mentions more specifically coordination in the field of information provision, individual needs assessments, data collection, information sharing between authorities, and victims who are in detention facilities.

However, these amendments cannot sufficiently address fundamental failings to the implementation of support in Member States, which has resulted in short term decision making and services being limited or absent across many countries.

A comprehensive framework for victim support based on a strategic approach will address all victims’ needs in all areas of their lives, as described in VSE’s policy paper ‘National Framework for Comprehensive Victim Support’[1].  This approach is fundamental to addressing the fragmented system of support that exists in most Member States today, to addressing the multiple layers of response, gaps and duplications, as well as the failure to coordinate actions across sectors. As the Commission’s amendments on Article 26a have been largely covered by other articles in this MPP, this article focuses on introducing a new national cooperation and coordination framework.

The amendments introduce key elements meant for Member States to establish such a framework, i.e.: a national victims’ rights strategy, a national victims’ rights coordinator, an independent victims’ rights commissioner, and a national referral mechanism. The adoption of integrated strategies has been identified as being crucial to effectively promoting the rights of victims of crime; addressing complex and cross-cutting issues; and effectively addressing multi-dimensional issues, and assigning clear roles to all actors[2]. In Europe, the only countries to adopt a national strategy for victims of crime are the UK[3] and Croatia[4]. The establishment of a national referral mechanism addresses issues where referrals rely on individual efforts, a lack of a consistent approach, and where competition between support services impedes victims from getting help. Finally, a national coordinator, coordinating committee and Independent Commissioner aim to develop, monitor and coordinate a victims’ strategy and related policies, and the overall delivery of a victims’ rights framework[5]. It is fundamental that they work together with civil society organisations to complement pre-existing advocacy and policy work, and not simply replace the role of civil society.

These changes are essential to ensuring that support rights are fully implemented in a coherent manner and that support services are organised in a way that reflects their essential nature, similar to that of health services.

[1] National Framework for Comprehensive Victim Support, Victim Support Europe, 2022, online at:




[5] More details in National Framework for Comprehensive Victim Support, Victim Support Europe, 2022, online at: