European Day for Victims of Crime is observed on February 22. The day is used to create awareness about the pertinent issues of security. Approximately 15% of Europeans experience serious assault, trauma, and abuse yearly. The figures may relate to Europe, but we must remember these stories live within our communities too. The problem magnifies due to a pervasive culture of silence and the frightening misconception that these things happen to “others,” not to us. Today, we join Europe in recognition and support of victims of crime everywhere. European Day for Victims of Crime gives us the push we need to ensure that the justice system doesn’t inflict more trauma on people already suffering.
History of European Day for Victims of Crime
European Day for Victims of Crime was established courtesy of Victim Support Europe (V.S.E.) — an organization that remembers and advocates for the rights of victims of crime. Under the V.S.E. umbrella are 61 victim support institutions from 31 European countries. Together, they fight on behalf of victims of crime — no matter who the victim is or what the crime may be.
An estimated 75 million people across Europe are victims of crime. While access to justice should be a given, that’s sadly more the exception than the norm. Whether in Europe or anywhere else, the structures designed to protect us are often the ones that fail us. Victims of mental and physical abuse (or both) struggle through the proverbial due process. Why the law adds to their trauma is beyond anyone’s understanding. Most victims of crime have their fundamental rights denied when reporting incidents. In addition, victim shaming is pervasive. So much so that many simply choose not to come forward. And there’s the crippling fear of retaliation that prevents many from seeking justice.
European Day for Victims of Crime aims to change this. Today, the E.U. member states reiterate their commitment to justice for all citizens. Everyone has the right to a safe environment to report crimes and access justice. The V.S.E. focuses on groups that may be more vulnerable: children, women, young people, and those with disabilities. These groups represent people who may face more obstacles in asserting their fundamental rights. When you have lesser autonomy, the chances of getting or seeking help are slim to none. The V.S.E. hopes to make it easier for everyone to access the justice system through support, information, and protection.
European Day for Victims of Crime timeline
The German Code of Criminal Procedure 1987 gives victims the right to participate in a trial, appeal the verdict, and seek compensation.
Estonia releases the “Victim Support Handbook” emphasizing the need to care for victims and offer practical and material support.
Denmark allows compensation to Danish and foreign citizens for crimes with serious injuries.
The European Commission adopts the Victims’ Rights Directive that establishes clear guidelines on victims’ rights and ensures action.
European Day for Victims of Crime FAQs
Who helps victims of crime?
Legal systems in most countries provide various avenues for victims of crime to seek help. Throughout the U.S., government agencies, charitable organizations, and private non-profits run programs that offer support.
What do victims need after a crime?
In addition to safety and access to justice, victims of crime need support to rebuild their lives.
What is a victim of crime definition?
A victim of a crime has faced harm or injury due to a crime, accident, or other events. “Crime” refers to any action that causes physical, emotional, or financial harm to a person.
How to Observe European Day for Victims of Crime
Talk about it
Use social media to spread awareness on the day. Tweet, post, and engage with relevant pages.
Find out how you can help
Apathy is a result of believing it cannot happen to us. But you would be surprised by how close to home these things can be. Do you think someone in your family, neighborhood, or community needs help? Find ways to reach out.
Volunteer or support a local charity
Offer financial support or your time to organizations doing great humanitarian work. Getting involved on the ground can be eye-opening and, in many cases, life-changing.
5 Facts About Crime Worldwide
The highest number of prisoners
There are about 2.2 million prisoners in the U.S. which is more than 20% of the world’s prison population.
Crime is big business
A report released in 2009 found that the yearly cost of organized crime in the U.K is approximately $47billion.
There are more men in prison
Across the world, studies show that male prisoners outnumber their female counterparts by about 21 to one.
It is an age-old enterprise
Criminal activity has existed for thousands of years so much so that the word ‘criminal’ has been used in the English language since the 1400s.
The most violent African city
Rustenburg in South Africa has been found to be the most violent city in Africa with a crime rate of about 86%.
Why European Day for Victims of Crime is Important
It fights for fundamental human rights
Everyone has a right to safety regardless of who they are or where they come from. European Day for Victims of Crime reminds us to fight the good fight.
It pushes for individual responsibility
The challenges associated with the day aren’t Europe-specific. These realities exist all around us: bullying, domestic violence, and partner violence, to name just a few. All of us need to be part of the solution and play our part in ensuring that others feel safe.
It calls for change
Offering solidarity leads to ripple effects of change. The most significant movements in the world are proof of it.
European Day for Victims of Crime dates