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Problematising the Victims’ Rights Directive From the Ground: The Implementation of Victim Support Services in Greece, Italy, Bulgaria, Cyprus, and Spain

In: European Journal of Crime, Criminal Law and Criminal Justice
Authors:
Olga Jubany Associate Professor in Social Anthropology, Department of Social Anthropology, University of Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain

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Martina Klett-Davies Module Leader, King’s Foundations, King’s College London, London, UK

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Malin Roiha PhD Researcher, Department of Social Anthropology, University of Barcelona, Barcelona

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Abstract

Adopting an ethnographic approach, this paper analyses the interpretation, application and consequences of the most relevant tool for the protection of victims’ rights in the European Union – the so-called Victims’ Rights Directive (Directive 2012/29/EU). The analysis is grounded on multi-sited fieldwork that includes 106 in-depth interviews with professionals working with victim support in Bulgaria, Cyprus, Greece, Italy and Spain. The results unravel the perspectives and experiences of the professionals working on the ground and the uneven implementation of the Directive across the EU and in highly diverse contexts. The analysis shows the tensions and deficits in its implementation that are inseparable from the social construction of the ‘ideal victim’ that informs the prioritising of support. This paper will evidence how the ‘hierarchisation of victims’ is echoed in the unequal transposition and implementation of the Directive throughout the EU, from law enforcement agencies to prosecution, courts and victim support.

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