Implementation of the Victim’s Rights Directive
Directive 2012/29/EU came into effect on 16 November 2015, giving, for the first time, a specified set of rights to victims of crime.
Garda Ombudsman Commissioner Kieran FitzGerald was proud to be invited to speak at the Victims’ Rights Alliance event held on that day, to mark this important EU Directive becoming law.
He noted that, along with many other agencies including ourselves, the Garda Síochána has put a lot of work into getting a system ready to deliver on the rights that victims now have. Notwithstanding this, as the independent complaint handling mechanism overseeing the Garda Síochána, the Garda Ombudsman may now receive complaints about their treatment of victims, particularly in the early implementation stages of the system.
“How we respond collectively to complaints that arise will tell a lot about our levels of commitment to the Directive and its aspirations,” he said, in reference to this. “Resolving difficulties will be a collective endeavour. The focus should be on resolution, not retribution. To resolve, we need to all be working toward the same goal: delivering on the lawful rights of victims.”
“That should not, if we approach it with the right attitudes, lead to confrontation and adversarial encounters. It should at all times be aiming toward speedy and proper vindication of rights. That is in everyone’s best interest – that is in the public interest.”
The Garda Ombudsman will also have occasion to be dealing with victims of crime directly, in that all complainants making allegations of criminal offences by gardaí will be dealt with as victims. In this context, we have recently reviewed our processes to make sure that we are doing everything we can to be in line with the Directive, offering the most effective and sensitive service to victims that we can.
New information about how victims of crime can expect to be treated by the Garda Ombudsman is now available on our website; as well as links to other agencies which provide different types of support to victims.