The project Justice at last – European action for compensation for victims of crime aims to enhance access to compensation for trafficked persons and victims of related crimes. For victims of crime, the right to compensation is recognised and well established in EU legislation. Nevertheless, many barriers remain that prevent these victims from actually accessing this right.
The project is coordinated by La Strada International and implemented by Open Gate/La Strada in cooperation with partners in Bulgaria (Animus Association), Czech Republic (La Strada), Spain (SicarCAT and Esperanza), Germany (KOK), Austria (LEFO), The Netherlands (FairWork), Ireland (MRCI), Romania (Adpare), and Serbia (ASTRA). These project consortium partners are also the partners who will implement the Know your Rights – Claim Compensation Campaign.
This project is partly funded by the European Union’s Justice Program (2014-2020).
Evidence obtained from earlier research shows that very few victims seek compensation, and that among those who do, even fewer receive a compensation payment. Obstacles to accessing and obtaining compensation include a lack of awareness among police and the judicial system, lack of access to legal aid and adequate information for victims, and the postponement of trials and long duration of criminal and civil proceedings. Another obstacle, in the case of foreign victims, is the return or deportation to their country of origin before a verdict is reached.
Even when compensation has been ordered, barriers exist that leave victims without payment. These barriers include that victims rarely have the means to ensure the compensation order is enforced. But also that the perpetrators are not found, are not prosecuted, have moved their assets abroad, or have declared themselves bankrupt to avoid confiscation of their assets and having to pay compensation. Access to State compensation funds may be hindered as well, for instance due to a lack of residence status, lack of information, lack of means, and lack of access to legal aid. In short, many barriers prevent victims from claiming and obtaining their rights, including the right to compensation.
The project aims to identify and analyse remaining barriers to access remedies, as well as needs and best practices on how to overcome such barriers. It further intends to equip professionals with knowledge and skills on claiming and providing assistance for obtaining compensation and to raise awareness amongst professionals, policy makers, service providers and victims of crime in Europe.
Project activities include the identification and legal analysis of compensation claims; assessments of gaps related to victims’ needs, referral, and receipt and payment of claims; international and national trainings, seminars and focus group meetings and a European information campaign. This project is partly funded by the European Union’s Justice Program (2014-2020).
For more information please visit JUSTICE AT LAST web page.