U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

NCJRS Virtual Library

The Virtual Library houses over 235,000 criminal justice resources, including all known OJP works.
Click here to search the NCJRS Virtual Library

Role of the Victim of Crime in European Criminal Justice Systems - A Crossnational Study of the Role of the Victim

NCJ Number
M Joutsen
Date Published
377 pages
This report examines crime victim services provided by European countries, with particular reference to the United Nations Declaration of Basic Principles of Justice for Victims of Crime and Abuse of Power.
The study analyzed statutory law and legal practice regarding the victim's role in the criminal justice systems of 22 European countries. Criminological and victimological data were used to indicate whether or not legal mechanisms are used and, if so, what functions they fulfill. A historical analysis of victim services in Europe includes a review of the development of victimology and the victim movement. To explain the significance of the United Nations Declaration, the report discusses the role of the United Nations in international criminal policy. The discussion then addresses both the philosophical issues of the victim-offender relationship and the policy implications for crime prevention. The use of alternatives to the criminal justice system for dealing with victim needs is considered, e.g., through civil or administrative proceedings. In discussing the entry of the victim into the criminal justice system, the main issue considered is whether or not the victim is granted status within case processing procedures. Various factors affecting the position of the victim in procedural laws are considered, and the victim's role in the final disposition of the case is reviewed. The report concludes with a discussion of state victim compensation schemes in the 12 European countries that have them. Appendixes provide the text of the United Nations Declaration and the Council of Europe Recommendation, along with a commentary on the declaration and a comparison of the contents of the two instruments.