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New rights for victims of crime

The Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality, Frances Fitzgerald,has published the Criminal Justice (Victims of Crime) Bill 2016, following approval by the Government.

The Bill will transpose into Irish law Directive 2012/29/EU establishing minimum standards on the rights, support and protection of victims of crime fulfilling a commitment in the Programme for Government to publish legislation to implement the EU Victims of Crime Directive.

The Tánaiste said “This Bill will introduce, for the first time, statutory rights for victims of crime. It is time that the rights of victims are given full recognition in the criminal justice system”.

Under the proposed Bill, a victim of a crime will have rights including;

· The right to receive comprehensive information on the criminal justice system and their role within it and the range of services and entitlements victims may access from their first contact with the Garda Síochána.

· The right to receive a written acknowledgement of the making of the complaint by the victim.

· The right to be provided with information concerning the progress of the investigation and any court proceedings.

· The right to be informed of any decision not to institute a prosecution in relation to the offence committed against them and the right to request a review of that decision.

· The right to receive information on the release, temporary release, or escape from custody of an offender who is serving a sentence for an offence committed against the victim.

· The right to receive information in clear and concise language and to interpretation and translation where it is necessary to enable victims to understand and be understood in their participation in the criminal justice process.

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