Victims’ right to information has proven to be a cornerstone in assuring effective access and fully informed exercise of rights within the criminal justice system.
Literature and practice have established robust evidence that the lack of sufficient information is a main source of distress and dissatisfaction with criminal justice agencies (see Sims and Myhill, 2001; Van Dijk & Groenhuijsen, 2007).
Lack of available and easy-to-understand information is yet a problem faced in most of the European Union Member States: victims do not have an easy access to information concerning the criminal proceedings and it’s functioning; most victims do not know what possibilities are open to them, where they can receive assistance and what is expected from them.
Bearing in mind this central need of victims of crime in Europe, and with the financial support of the Justice Programme of the European Union, APAV has been able to develop milestone information materials, in several EU languages, addressing the functioning of the criminal justice system in a simple and accessible language, namely:
- infovictims.com, a website with comprehensive information concerning the impact of victimisation, the rights of victims of crime deriving from the EU Victims Directive (Directive 2012/29/EU) and their transposition into national legal framework and thus, explaining the functioning of the criminal court proceedings and providing an overview of who is who and what roles are assigned to the different actors (victim, judge, public prosecution service, police, court officer, the victims’ lawyer, the defendant, the defence lawyer, witness, expert witness, interpreter);
- a brochure “Infovictims: know your rights as a victim of crime”, condensing and complementing information available on the website;
- a poster “Rights of Victims of Crime” offers a simple and attractive way to raise the awareness and inform about the rights of victims of crime;
- a leaflet used for an awareness raising campaign on Infovictims and informing about the existence of the website and app;
- an infovictims app with all the information existent on the website, but downloadable to mobile devices, so that a victim of crime may access information about he/his rights at any time.
All materials were developed and adapted to the functioning of the criminal proceedings in different countries – Portugal, Austria, Germany, Czech Republic, Poland and Scotland – both in mother language and in English.
Further Infovictims materials were developed in other EU languages and may be accessed through the links provided below.