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INTRODUCTION

Statistics show that up to 1 in 4 of European citizens have been victims of crime, making victimisation a daily phenomenon in Europe. Moreover, the threat of terrorism, as well as other forms of crimes, have increased the need for improved forms of assistance available to victims.

It is essential to put victims and witnesses at the very heart of the justice system. Victims should and need to be treated with the respect and dignity they deserve when coming into contact with justice, in particular so that they are safe from secondary victiminsation.

Questions related to the assistance to victims must be dealt with from a comprehensive perspective that includes general victim related policies, for example compensation or restitution and the role of the victim in judicial proceedings, and more specific policies relating to the particular vulnerability of the victim.