Article 39 – Cross border and European Union cooperation

Article 39 – Cross border and European Union cooperation

1) Member States shall take appropriate action to facilitate cooperation between Member States and with civil society to improve the access of victims to the rights set out in this Directive and under national law. Such cooperation shall be aimed at least at:

a) the exchange of best practices;
b) consultation in individual cases;
c)assistance to European networks working on matters directly relevant to victims’ rights from both the State and Civil Society sectors;
d) coordination and exchange of knowledge of the activities of national Victims’ Rights Coordinators as referred in article 36.

2) Member States shall take appropriate action, including through the internet, aimed at raising awareness of the rights set out in this Directive, reducing the risk of victimisation, and minimising the negative impact of crime and the risks of secondary and repeat victimisation, of intimidation and of retaliation, in particular by targeting groups at risk such as children, victims of gender-based violence and violence in close relationships. Such action may include information and awareness raising campaigns and research and education programmes, where appropriate in cooperation with relevant civil society organisations and other stakeholders.

3) Member States shall facilitate the tasks of the Commission Coordinator for Victims’ Rights, to improve coordination and coherence and avoid duplication of effort between Union institutions and agencies as well as between Member States, to contribute to the development of existing or new European Union policies and strategies relevant to the protection and support of victims of crime. Member States shall transmit to the Commission Coordinator for Victims’ Rights the information referred to in Article 41 on the basis of which the Commission Coordinator for Victims’ Rights shall contribute to reporting carried out by the Commission every two years.

COMMENTARY – Article 39

The Commission proposed a series of amendments on cooperation issues, but has not proposed amendments on cooperation and coordination between Member States.

Cross-border coordination and cooperation is essential within the EU; as an increasing number of EU citizens/residents fall victim to crime outside their country of residence, effective cooperation between Member States is required. Equally, civil society actors, such as those which offer support services are essential to cross border solutions; yet they are often excluded from cross border mechanisms.

VSE’s proposal seeks to address this issue as well as to ensure the regular exchange of knowledge and good practices between States, civil society organisations, and the EU. The EC Co-ordinator for Victims’ Rights is well placed to support the co-ordination of activities across Member States and should be properly recognised as having such a role within EU Legislation.