The new EU rules on victims’ rights adopted in October 2012 to improve rights for victims of crime have entered into application as of 16 November 2015.
The Victims’ Rights Directive stated a number of binding rights for victims of crime, and clear obligations for EU Member States to ensure these rights are put in practice. The Directive aims at a better recognition and support of all victims of crime and their family members based on an individual and non-discriminatory approach tailored to the victim’s needs.
The new rights include the rights to understand and to be understood, to information, support, to participate in criminal proceedings, to protection, as well as the rights of victims’ family members.
While ‘elder abuse’ is not explicitly mentioned, the directive includes an article forbidding age discrimination and discrimination based on disability in accessing victim support services. In addition, specific provisions on violence in ‘close intimate relationships’ and interagency cooperation can be used to tackle some aspects of elder abuse. National governments need now to properly implement the Directive and make sure that older victims also benefit from its protection.