Scottish MEP welcomes new EU law for crime victims

Alyn Smith has welcomed a new directive which guarantees a minimum set of rights for crime victims.

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Published by The Parliament Magazine on 27th November 2012

By Martin Banks - 27th November 2012

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The new directive, which was published this week, is based on best practice in member states, including Scotland. Previously victims' rights differed from one member state to another.

It meant that many EU citizens who were victims of crime while living, travelling or holidaying abroad in Europe suffered as a result of potentially poor standards of the respective member state.

That has now changed with every EU citizen guaranteed a minimum set of rights if they are unfortunate enough to become victim to a crime.

On Monday, Smith, an SNP deputy, hosted a conference in parliament highlighting the importance of victims' rights.

Among those speaking at the conference was stalking victim Ann Moulds who campaigned for greater victims' rights and gave evidence to the Scottish parliament's justice committee.

Moulds successfully campaigned to change the law and has since been given the go-ahead to sue the former friend who tormented her.

Moulds is demanding damages from Alex Reid over what she suffered after he bombarded her with sexually explicit text messages.

Smith hosted the conference after he co-authored a written declaration, which will give parliamentary backing to the directive.

Speaking on Monday, Smith said the event heard "heart breaking first hand testimony from numerous people about how the system has failed them".

He said, "This was a hugely informative and successful conference which saw experts, key stakeholders and policy formers come together to discuss last week's directive and how it will be put into practice.

"We heard from people who have been victims of crime and where they thought improvements can be made, both domestically and across Europe.

"Anyone can become a victim, and this directive brings in the minimum standards of treatment anyone can expect, in any country. Without the EU as a framework to negotiate such a cooperation would simply not have happened.

"This directive also has Scottish fingerprints all over it and draws quite explicitly from Scottish best practice.

"Victim Support Scotland was instrumental in making it happen, and I was proud to organise it."