The aim of FAIRCOM is to contribute to justice for victims of sexual crimes in the European Union by improving the possibilities for obtaining compensation.
Over the past decades, the situation of victims of crime and the protection of their rights has received increased attention, both at the level of the European Union and within the Member States, through the adoption and implementation of several Directives.
The right to compensation of victims is essential to meet basic victim’s needs in that it may provide the financial means to obtain at least appropriate medical and psychological treatment, as well and some recognition of the trauma suffered. The criminal justice system should accommodate the needs of victims and enable them to obtain appropriate compensation for pain and suffering, regardless of their nationality.
This is acknowledged by Directive 2004/80/EC relating to compensation to crime victims and Directive 2012/29/EU establishing minimum standards on the rights, support and protection of victims of crime, establishing the obligation for Member States to guarantee “fair and appropriate” compensation to victims.
Although almost all EU Member States have implemented these Directives, according to a recent report of the EU Parliament ‘Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs’ and the ‘Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality’, in several countries their practical application and effectiveness still leaves much to be desired.
In general, crime victims can obtain monetary compensation for the injuries and damage they have suffered from two different sources: from the offender and from the State. However, conditions, procedures, requirements and outcomes vary greatly from state to state, resulting in unequal treatment of victims depending on the place of crime. This leads to huge hurdles in receiving fair and appropriate compensation in both national and cross-border cases.
Effective mechanisms for obtaining compensation do not only serve to redress monetary and non-monetary damage. Compensation also brings acknowledgement and empowerment. Genuine “fair and appropriate” compensation is an indispensable cornerstone for victims of sexual violence in the European Union for the exercise of their fundamental rights.
For these reasons, FAIRCOM seeks to contribute to a more consistent and effective implementation of the EU directives by mapping the actual functioning of national systems, identifying good practices, making recommendations, improving knowledge among organizations and professionals, and in general by raising awareness about the particularly vulnerable position of victims of sexual violence and the shortcomings of existing national systems in delivering justice to them.