Crime victims’ right to information: plain language and its implementation

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Abstract

The thorough fulfilment of crime victims' right to receive information presents itself as one of the crucial means to ensure that those suffering from the consequences of a criminal offense have the opportunity to enforce their remaining rights. Directive 2012/29/EU, concerning the rights of victims of crime, acknowledged this by assigning central relevance to this prerogative. It did so, namely, by establishing the obligation for Member States to ensure that communication with victims is conducted in simple and accessible language. Portugal, in this regard, has set forth in article 12, No. 2, of the Victim's Statute, the duty to provide information to victims in intelligible language, considering their personal characteristics. However, throughout the European Union, it remains clear that information is conveyed in language that is not simple, nor easy to understand. Employing both hermeneutic and empirical methods, our aim is to, on the one hand, study the main provisions of European Union and national legislation that enshrine this right, and on the other hand, diagnose the primary issues concerning the effectiveness of how information is currently communicated to crime victims, clarify and specify what constitutes "plain language" as a communication technique to efficiently transmit information, consider existing best practices, and analyse the potential implementation of these and other best practices within law enforcement and judicial authorities.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)316-336
Number of pages21
JournalPolissema
Issue numberesp.
Publication statusPublished - 21 May 2024

Keywords

  • Victims of crime
  • Right to information
  • Communication safeguards
  • Plain language

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