Topic 1 Common definitions of victim VS definition of victim in the Victims’ Rights Directive

The common Definition of Victim in law

“Victims” means persons who, individually or collectively, have suffered harm, including physical or mental injury, emotional suffering, economic loss or substantial impairment of their fundamental rights, through acts or omissions that are in violation of criminal laws operative within Member States, including those laws proscribing criminal abuse of power.

Declaration of Basic Principles of Justice for Victims of Crime and Abuse of Power | OHCHR

The Victims Right Directive gives a clear and broad definition of Victim. This includes the following concepts: 

  1. Every person that suffered harm from a crime is a victim (therefore not only direct victims of crime, but also family members of victims who die as a result of crime).
  2. The suffering may be objectively measurable (economic loss or physical harm but also mental or emotional harm).
  3. The harm must be directly caused by a crime.
  4. The crimes are defined in the national criminal law.

Victims’ Rights Directive: Frequently asked Questions (

Victims’ rights in the EU (