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Benchmarking Victim Policies in the Framework of European Union Law (From Handbook of Victims and Victimology, P 363-379, 2007, Sandra Walklate, ed. -- See NCJ-223143)

NCJ Number
Jan Van Dijk; Marc Groenhuijsen
Date Published
17 pages
This chapter reviews an assessment of European Union (EU) member countries' socio-legal compliance with the international standards for crime victims' rights and services as reflected in the 2001 Framework Decision of the European Union on the Standing of Victims in Criminal Proceedings, which sets minimum standards for the treatment of crime victims.
The new EU standards build on earlier international codification efforts of the United Nations (General Assembly Declaration of 1985) and the Council of Europe (Recommendation 1985/11). The EU Framework Decision is unique in making a comprehensive set of victim-friendly principles of justice that are legally binding for its 27 member states. Brienen and Hoegen have examined legislative compliance with Council of Europe Recommendation 1985/11, including its followup in case law, instruction, and training programs for police officers and prosecutors. They have conducted an overall assessment of the stage of implementation of these guidelines for each EU member state. This chapter discusses the methodology of Brienen and Hoegen and presents a ranking of EU countries based on Brienen and Hoegen's "scorecards" for the extent of socio-legal compliance with the victim-related standards. This is coupled with empirical data on the impact of domestic victim policies as perceived by crime victims. Data are based on standardized victimization surveys conducted in 18 EU member states in 2005. The analysis focuses on the percentages of individuals victimized by serious crimes between 2000 and 2005 who have reported their experience to the police, the rate of satisfaction among these reporting victims, and the percentages of reporting victims of serious crimes who have received specialized help. A composite victim satisfaction index is presented. From these combined results, general conclusions are drawn about the state of implementation of the EU Framework Decision across the member states. 5 figures, 6 notes, and 16 references