Crime victims

The Ministry of Justice is responsible for drafting the legislation relating to the legal status of crime victims and for the general development of the position of crime victims within its mandate. The Ministry is also responsible for providing training for the personnel of courts and legal aid offices and for securing a favourable operating environment for courts and legal aid offices. Moreover, the Ministry is in charge of organising the general support services for crime victims. The Ministry participates in the financing of support services for crime victims through granting discretionary government transfers. Compensations under the Act on Compensation for Crime Damage are developed in cooperation with the State Treasury.

Efforts to improve the position of crime victims have in the 2000s become an ever more integral part of criminal policy measures. This improvement work is based on nationally set objectives and international obligations and recommendations. One of the most important international instruments in this field is the EU Directive establishing minimum standards on the rights, support and protection of victims of crime (2012/29/EU), which was adopted on 25 October 2012. The national legislative amendments supporting the implementation of the Directive entered into force on 1 March 2016.

In addition to the Ministry of Justice, issues relating to the position of crime victims are dealt with by many other actors, especially the Ministry of the Interior and the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health and their administrative branches. Police work and social welfare and health care services play a key role in this respect.

Support services for crime victims in Finland are mainly produced by the third sector. Victim Support Finland provides support for all victims of crime. Furthermore, several different organisations provide more specialised support for different groups of victims. State funding for support services has been reinforced by introducing a victim surcharge, which is collected from convicted offenders. The proceeds of the surcharge are channelled to support services for crime victims through granting discretionary government transfers to the service providers. The legislation on the victim surcharge entered into force in December 2016.

 

Sources of information

European e-Justice Portal
Online service maintained by the European Commission with the aim of providing easy access to justice and information on the legal systems in the EU. Contains plenty of useful information for crime victims in many different languages.

European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights
The Agency conducts comparative studies on themes related to the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights. Also themes concerning crime victims.

Institute of Criminology and Legal Policy
Research information concerning crime victims.