New rights for victims of crime in Europe - Preface

I am delighted to be associated with this very significant publication. As President of the European Parliament and the Irish representative for many years I am aware of the vital role that the front-line services of Victim Support have played in responding to the needs of victims of crime. National victims' services now operate in sixteen countries within Europe and, under the umbrella of the European Forum for Victim Services, have built up an enormous wealth of expertise in this field.

The introduction of the EU Framework Decision on the standing of victims in criminal proceedings in March 2001 was a significant development in promoting the rights of victims of crime across Europe. This Framework represents a major breakthrough in ensuring help and support is available to those people who become victims of crime while in an EU country other than their own. It provides a series of standards for victims of crime which will apply throughout the EU and will have a particular impact for those travelling abroad.

We are all aware that we are living in changing times. Travel and trade within Europe has become the norm. Opportunities abound for meeting and working with European colleagues and friends. And yet, we know that crime occurs everywhere. However, we must strive to achieve consistency in the manner in which victims are treated and ensure that we secure better provision for victims of crime, regardless of the country in which the crime occurs.

For that reason, I would like to congratulate the UK/Ireland Victim Support Forum for taking the lead in producing this publication. I consider that the group has taken a very objective view of measuring standards of services available and not available to those living and visiting each of the four jurisdictions i.e. England,Wales & Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland and Scotland. I consider that this publication will benefit other European states in implementing the provisions of the Framework Decision. I would also hope that the publication will provide the basis for establishing support services to victims of crime in each of the accession countries over the coming years.

Continued campaigning to ensure effective implementation of the provisions in the Framework Decision is now required. I am confident that with the commitment of victims' organisations across Europe a better future can be created for those who experience the hurt and trauma of crime. As President of the European Parliament, I undertake to promote the provisions contained in the Framework Decision at a European level in securing a better deal for all victims of crime.

Mr. Pat Cox
President of the European Parliament

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