„Achieving Safe Justice requires an integrated response, connected to a comprehensive framework of victim support and communication at the national level. It requires action by international and European institutions, by States, and by services and actors within justice systems: updating legislation, reviewing the functionality of national justice systems, addressing bias and inappropriate attitudes.”
A discussion paper, titled Safe Justice for Victims of Crime, has been developed by Victim Support Europe (VSE), an organisation of victim right advocacy in the European Union (EU) with the financial support of the Justice Programme of the EU.
There are many directives on what rights victims of crime have and how professionals should and can help them. Yet, many criminal justice systems are still under-developed in terms of giving victims a voice, reducing the likelihood of being re-victimised and helping them seek the help they need. Many victims do not report crimes because they feel they do not have a voice and won’t be heard. According to the Safe Justice paper, the measurement of a successful justice system is based partly on the treatment and safety of victims of crime among other principles of justice.
Rather than being an in-depth analysis of all aspects of the justice system, this discussion paper is an account based on research reports and the experiences of victims and professionals working in this field in order to give victims a voice in the criminal justice system throughout the European Union.
The report also has a section on restorative justice as it recognises that within a safe justice approach victims’ needs might extend beyond the traditional justice system and that these needs should be addressed, potentially through restorative justice processes.
VSE also launched a call for stories from victims who have positive experiences or faced challenges throughout their journey in the criminal justice system. These testimonials can be read on the VSE website.