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Migration and Home Affairs

Victims of terrorism deserve special attention and support at both national and EU level. This is done through specific laws, networks and cooperation with partner countries and international organisations.

With the Counter-Terrorism Agenda adopted in 2020, the Commission will explore measures to improve support to victims of terrorism, assessing the existing EU rules on victims’ rights and, if necessary, propose legislative changes by 2022.

The EU has developed a set of laws which lay down binding rights for all victims of all crimes, and corresponding obligations for EU countries.

Timeline

  1. 2020
    EU Centre of Expertise for Victims of Terrorism

    Set up in January 2020, the EU Centre of Expertise for Victims of Terrorism offers expertise, guidance and support to national authorities and victim support organisations on victims of terrorism. This 2-year pilot project serves as a hub of expertise and evaluates the feasibility and necessity of setting up of a Coordination Centre for Victims of Terrorism in the future.

  2. 2017
    Directive on combating terrorism
    • provide for access to professional, specialist support services, immediately after an attack and for as long as necessary,
    • have in place protocols and mechanisms to provide efficient emergency response, including access to reliable information, thereby avoiding any additional suffering for victims of terrorism and their families.
  3. 2012
    Victims' Rights Directive

    Adopted in 2012, the Victims' Rights Directive, reinforces existing national measures with EU-wide minimum standards applicable in every EU country.

    Victims must have the right to:

    • understand and to be understood during contact with an authority (for example plain and simple language),
    • receive information from the first contact with an authority,
    • make a formal complaint and receive written acknowledgement,
    • interpretation and translation (at least during interviews/questioning of the victim),
    • receive information about the case’s progress and
    • access victim support services.
  4. 2004
    Compensation Directive

    The Compensation Directive provides access to national compensation schemes to victims of violent, intentional crime.

Networks

European Network of Associations of Victims of Terrorism (NAVT)

The Commission has also set up NAVT to stimulate trans-national cooperation between associations of victims of terrorism and enhance the representation of victims' interests at the EU-level.

The network provides useful information, including the mapping of associations and organisations specialised in supporting victims of terrorism, funding opportunities, a calendar of events, a library with relevant publications as well as a chat forum.

Radicalisation Awareness Network Remembrance of Victims of Terrorism (RVT) Working Group

Victims of terrorism (including people who have been targets of an attack and those who have lost a relative) become involuntary experts on the harm that violent extremism can cause. With this in mind, the purpose of RVT is three-fold:

  • remember and honour all victims of terrorism, particularly by cooperating in the organisation of the European Remembrance Day for Victims of Terrorism on 11 March each year,
  • present victims’ experiences and give strength to their voices in order to highlight the human consequences of violent extremism with the aim of preventing and countering violent extremism,
  • address victims’ needs and safeguard their rights.