House of Representatives agrees with extra rights for victims in criminal proceedings

Victims of offences will immediately receive all information about their rights during their first contact with the police and public prosecutions department: for example, about the possibilities for protection and legal advice. They will also receive advice about the possibilities for compensation and how the report proceeds. This is stated in a legislative proposal by Minister Van der Steur (Minister of Security and Justice) that has been agreed by the House of Representatives.

The new scheme means that the European directive 'minimum standards for victims' becomes part of Dutch law. The victim already has a strong legal position in the Netherlands, but now this position will be further extended. The rights of victims will apply from the moment of reporting until the case against the suspect has been settled by the court.

Furthermore, the contact with minor victims will be highlighted more in the actual practice of the police, public prosecutions department and other organisations. The needs of minor victims will become part of the courses of employees of the organisations who have contact with these victims.

An important new aspect is that victims may receive an individual assessment, with the aim to examine whether they qualify for special protective measures.

The aim of the directive is to see to it that victims of offences will receive proper information, support and protection in all EU member states and that they can participate in the criminal proceedings. Then the same minimum rights will apply for victims within the European Union. When a Dutch person becomes a victim of an offence in another member state, he/she can invoke the same minimum rights in that country, for example being entitled to an interpreter or receiving linguistic support when submitting the report and free access to victim assistance.