EU adopts Directive offering protection to victims of homophobic and transphobic crimes

Published: September 12, 2012

Today the European Parliament adopted a directive which establishes a set of measures to strengthen victims’ rights in the European Union. The Directive acknowledges the existence of specific protection needs of victims of crimes committed with a bias or discriminatory motive related to their personal characteristics. These characteristics include sexual orientation, gender and gender identity or expression.

This Directive is the first international piece of legislation referring to gender expression. Its significance is that all trans and gender-variant people will be covered as will be all people who do not present their gender in a stereotyped way.

The Directive took on board ILGA-Europe’s call for consideration of the situation of LGBTI victims of bias-motivated crimes and of gender-based violence. The Directive makes clear that these elements shall be taken as factors of an individual assessment of potential protection needs, offered to all victims.
Many victims will benefit from this Directive, taking into consideration their concerns and fears, as regards to the right to protection from further victimisation or intimidation, to be interviewed by specifically trained professionals, and not to be questioned unnecessarily on private life during court proceedings, the rights to an appropriate support throughout criminal proceedings.

The EU Member States will have three years to fully implement this Directive and ILGA-Europe will monitor the implementation process. In particular, ILGA-Europe considers that the Directive’s provisions on victims support services, training of practitioners and co-operation of services working with victims shall be transposed adequately to ensure that the identification of victims’ specific protection needs is really guaranteed. The Member States are expected to formally adopt the legislation in the coming months.

Gabi Calleja, Co-Chair of ILGA-Europe’s Executive Board, said:

“This is a very important, needed and timely piece of legislation for the LGBTI community. LGBTI people are subjected to hate crimes across Europe and the new directive provides a very useful framework on how the European Union Member States should help the victims of crimes committed on the grounds of sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression. ILGA-Europe particularly welcomes the improvements achieved during the adoption of this Directive.

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