The 2012 report on unsafe products has just been released. The report details that a total of 2,278 measures against dangerous non-food products, were taken by Member States and reported in the EU Rapid Information system (RAPEX).
Last week’s Safer Internet Day had the theme of “Connecting generations and educating each other”, which goes really well with the theme of this European year: Active Ageing and Solidarity between Generations.
Here are some links to help you and your family be safer online:
BBC: CBBC: Stay safe – aimed at children
Directgov: Internet safety – aimed at parents
Directgov: Staying safe online – aimed at young people
Google: Good to know – how to stay safe online, in partnership with the Citizens Advice Bureau
Insafe – European network of awareness centres promoting safe, responsible use of the internet and mobile devices to young people.
O2Learn – video library of revision lessons from teachers across the country
Stay Safe Online – National Cyber Security Alliance
A tourist from Poland is mugged and badly injured while visiting Paris. An Italian teenager is attacked outside a metro station in Helsinki. Throughout the EU, an estimated 75 million people (up to 15% of the EU population) may be victims of crime every year. Such events can have devastating physical, emotional and financial consequences for victims and their families. And the risk of being a victim is just as great when travelling abroad as it is at home- – Europeans make around 1.25 billion trips as tourists within the EU every year, so some will inevitably become victims of crime in another country. Family members are affected too, through the need to support loved ones after their ordeal, or in helping them recover from a physical injury or financial difficulties following a crime.
When crimes happen abroad, different cultures, languages and laws can create substantial problems. Who do victims turn to for help? What are their rights?
At the moment, crimes that happen abroad in Europe are not always dealt with in the same way across the Member States because of a variety of different national laws. Thanks to the Lisbon Treaty, the Commission is now able to legislate on the rights of victims of crime and has proposed a range of new measures to ensure the basic rights of victims are met, wherever they may be in Europe. New minimum standards include
- ensuring that victims are treated with respect by police and judges
- receiving proper information about their rights in a language they understand
- ensuring vulnerable victims, such as children or victims of rape, are given proper protection, in particular while police investigate the crime.
- ensuring victims of violence (such as domestic abuse) can expect national restraint and protection orders to be valid in another EU country if they travel abroad.
Vice-President Reding, the EU’s Justice Commissioner has said “While our criminal justice systems focus on catching criminals, they sometimes end up neglecting the victims themselves. Today’s Commission proposals will ensure that the EU puts victims first. With millions of people suffering from crime each year, any citizen could become a victim. Victims of crime need respect, support, protection and to see that justice is served. That is why I am putting victims at the heart of criminal justice in the EU by making sure they can rely on minimum rights and support anywhere in Europe.”
Whatever the crime – a mugging, robbery, home break-in, assault, rape, harassment, hate crime, terrorist attack, or human trafficking –, all victims share the same basic needs: to be recognised and treated with respect and dignity, receive protection and support for their physical integrity and their property, and have access to justice and compensation.
The new proposals will reinforce existing national measures with EU-wide minimum standards, so that any victim can rely on the same basic level of rights – whatever their nationality and wherever in the EU the crime takes place.
The proposed Directive on minimum standards for victims will ensure that, in all 27 EU countries:
- victims are treated with respect and police, prosecutors and judges are trained in how to properly deal with them;
- victims get information on their rights and their case in a way they understand;
- victim support exists in every Member State;
- victims can participate in proceedings if they want and are helped to attend the trial;
- vulnerable victims are identified – such as children, victims of rape, or those with disabilities – and they are properly protected;
- victims are protected while police investigate the crime and during court proceedings.
To help protect victims of violence from any further harm by their attacker, the Commission is also proposing a Regulation on mutual recognition of civil law protection measures. It will ensure that victims of violence (such as domestic violence) can still rely on restraint or protection orders issued against the perpetrator if they travel or move to another EU country.
Today’s set of proposals are a first step in making victims of crime a central element of our justice systems. In the coming years, the Commission will take action to strengthen existing EU rules on compensation to victims of crime to ensure they have proper access to compensation, particularly when they’ve become a victim abroad. To give the victims of road traffic accidents in another EU country the chance to claim compensation for damages, the Commission also intends to revise the existing EU legislation on conflict of laws, so that people can rely on the time limits that apply in their home country.
Minimum rules for victims are part of the EU’s broader objective to build a European area of justice, so that people can rely on the same level of basic rights and have confidence in the justice system wherever they are in the EU. Victims’ rights are also fundamental rights and include respect for human dignity, private and family life and property – to be safeguarded, along with the rights of others involved in criminal proceedings, such as those accused of a crime. Another important principle is non-discrimination in accessing victims’ rights. The European Court of Justice confirmed that provision of compensation, for example, should not be limited on grounds of nationality e.g. a tourist who is a victim of crime in an EU Member State should be treated the same as a national in regards to compensation for his injuries.
The new measures to enhance the protection of victims are part of the follow-up the Commission is giving to the EU Citizenship Report 2010.