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Victims' rights - by country

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What information will I get from the authority after the crime occurred (e.g. police, public prosecutor) but before I even report the crime?

If you have been a victim of crime, you can report it to the police (or the public prosecutor) orally or in writing. You can also ask another person to report the crime for you, but you need to provide that person with a written power of attorney. The written and signed power of attorney will be attached to the case file.

When reporting the crime, you can receive information on the services and the organisations providing psychological counselling or any other forms of victim support, according to your needs. You are also entitled to information on how to receive legal aid, on your rights during criminal proceedings (including protective measures as a threatened witness), as well as on how to receive financial compensation from the State. This information will be provided by the first judicial body you go to (police, public prosecutor). You will also receive a form with all this information, which you must sign. The information will be delivered to you in a language that you can understand.

I don’t live in the EU country where the crime took place (EU and non-EU citizens). How are my rights protected?

If you are a foreigner and have been a victim of crime in Romania, you are entitled to all the rights of Romanian citizens who have been victims of crimes.

If you do not speak Romanian, you are entitled to an interpreter free of charge to assist you during your interaction with the authorities, including for filing your complaint in a language that you can understand and for receiving the information you are entitled to at the time of reporting the crime in a language you understand.

If you are a victim of human trafficking, you can receive accommodation in special shelters, where you will be protected. During criminal proceedings, you will receive information about the proceedings in a language you understand; you can also receive psychological counselling and medical assistance. The Romanian authorities will do their best to help you return to your home country as soon as possible and will provide secure transport to the Romanian border.

If you are a foreigner, you can also claim financial compensation from the State if you have been the victim of: attempted murder and attempted aggravated murder, as set out in Articles 188 and 189 of the Criminal Code; domestic violence, as set out in Article 199 of the Criminal Code; intentional crimes resulting in the victim's bodily injury; rape, sexual assault, sexual intercourse with a minor and sexual corruption of minors, as set out in Articles 218 to 221 of the Criminal Code; ill-treatment of minors, as set out in Article 197 of the Criminal Code, as well as trafficking in and exploitation of and attempted trafficking in and exploitation of vulnerable persons.

If I report a crime, what information will I receive?

When you report a crime, the police officer recording the complaint will explain to you the procedure your case will go through. The police are obliged to draw up a written report indicating what information they have provided to you.

You will receive information about:

  • your rights during the criminal proceedings;
  • the organisations you can approach for assistance and the services they provide;
  • how you can receive protection;
  • the conditions and the procedure for getting financial compensation from the State;
  • the conditions and the procedure for receiving free legal representation.

Subsequently, during the proceedings, you can receive information on the progress of the investigation and, if the prosecutor decides not to refer the case to court, a copy of this decision. For this, you will need to submit a request to the police officer or the prosecutor handling your case and to indicate a postal address in Romania, an e-mail or electronic messenger address to receive the information.

If the prosecutor decides to refer the case to court for trial, you will be summoned to court.

If you are to be heard in court, you will also be informed of your rights and obligations, as follows:

  • the right to be assisted by a lawyer or, if applicable, to receive free legal representation;
  • the right to resort to the services of a mediator in such cases as permitted by law;
  • the right to propose evidence to be submitted, to make objections and conclusions in accordance with the law;
  • the right to be informed about the progress of the proceedings;
  • the right to file a preliminary complaint, where it is necessary (for certain types of crimes, your application in the form of a preliminary complaint is necessary for the case against the offender to proceed). The judicial bodies will provide clarifications on this matter where required. Preliminary complaints are intended to request the continuation of the criminal proceedings against the offender. The preliminary complaint differs from the complaint you file with the police or the public prosecutor to inform them that a crime has been committed against you.
  • the right to become a civil party in the proceedings;
  • the obligation to be present whenever summoned by the judicial bodies;
  • the obligation to notify any change of address;
  • the right to be informed about any release of the offender, where the offender is sentenced to prison or remanded in custody.

Am I entitled to free interpreting or translation services (when I contact the police or other authorities, or during the investigation and trial)?

Yes. You are entitled to translation and interpreting services throughout the criminal proceedings.

How does the authority ensure that I understand and that I am understood (if I am a child; if I have a disability)?

During criminal proceedings, a disabled person, irrespective of his/her status (defendant, injured party, witness) must be offered the services of an interpreter, psychologist and/or representative of the General Directorates for Social Work and Child Protection (Direcțiile Generale de Asistență Socială și Protecție a Copilului) (for minors).

The legal framework in force sets out that the persons concerned may be provided with specialised assistance by the existing regional directorates for social work and child protection and, if applicable, medical assistance.

Victim support services

Depending on the nature of the crime (particularly when it is committed against persons), the police officer may recommend/ direct the victim to the psychological counselling services.

If you are the victim of a specific category of crimes (attempted murder and attempted aggravated murder, as set out in Articles 188 and 189 of the Criminal Code, domestic violence, as set out in Article 199 of the Criminal Code, intentional crimes resulting in the victim's bodily injury, rape, sexual assault, sexual intercourse with a minor and sexual corruption of minors, as set out in Articles 218 to 221 of the Criminal Code, ill-treatment of minors, as set out in Article 197 of the Criminal Code, as well as trafficking in and exploitation of and attempted trafficking in and exploitation of vulnerable persons), you can receive psychological counselling (up to three months for adults and up to six months for children under 18 years of age), medical assistance or any other type of assistance free of charge, as needed. These types of assistance are offered free of charge only if you have reported the crime to the police. You can apply for assistance with the probation services after filing the report with the police officer.

If you are a victim of domestic violence, you can turn for help to one of the family assistants working for the Ministry of Labour and Social Justice (Ministerul Muncii și Justiției Sociale). The Ministry offers various types of assistance to victims of domestic violence (e.g. psychological counselling, protection of identity, etc.). As a victim of domestic violence, you can also ask to be accommodated in a centre for victims of domestic violence where you will receive protection and counselling.

Who provides victim support?

In Romania, depending on the type of crime, a victim can receive specific support from the following institutions:

If you are a victim of domestic violence, you can contact the National Agency for Equal Opportunities between Women and Men (Agenția Națională pentru Egalitate de Șanse între Bărbați și Femei) and the General Directorates for Social Work and Child Protection (DGASPCs).

If you are under 18 years of age and you are a victim of crime, you can contact the National Authority for Protection of Children's Rights and Adoption (Autoritatea Națională pentru Protecția Drepturilor Copilului și Adopție - ANPDCA) and the General Directorates for Social Work and Child Protection (DGASPCs).

If you are a victim of human trafficking, you can contact the National Agency Against Trafficking in Persons (Agenția Națională împotriva Traficului de Persoane - ANITP) within the Ministry of Internal Affairs (Ministerul Afacerilor Interne - MAI).

There are also a number of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) which provide various types of victim support. The institution you contact will direct you to the relevant NGO.

If you have been the victim of a violent crime, such as attempted murder and attempted aggravated murder, as set out in Articles 188 and 189 of the Criminal Code, domestic violence, as set out in Article 199 of the Criminal Code, intentional crimes resulting in the victim's bodily injury, rape, sexual assault, sexual intercourse with a minor and sexual corruption of minors, as set out in Articles 218 to 221 of the Criminal Code, ill-treatment of minors, as set out in Article 197 of the Criminal Code, as well as trafficking in and exploitation of and attempted trafficking in and exploitation of vulnerable persons, you may turn for help to the probation services.

Will the police automatically refer me to victim support?

Yes, the judicial bodies must refer you to such services.

How is my privacy protected?

Both during the criminal investigation and during court proceedings, if the judicial bodies deem that your privacy or dignity might be affected due to the information you provide or due to other causes, they may resort to measures, on their own initiative or on your application, to protect your confidentiality and privacy, such as:

  • protecting your identity details;
  • hearing you via audio-visual means, with your voice and image being distorted, without there being a requirement for your presence, where the other measures do not suffice;
  • keeping the court session private throughout your interview.

Moreover, during court proceedings, the court may forbid any publication of texts, drawings, photographs or images that might reveal your identity.

The court may also declare the court session private if a public hearing might affect your dignity or privacy.

The probation service staff must keep confidential the data in their possession during the exercise of their office. The information provided to the judicial bodies as part of the criminal proceedings is exempted from this rule. Both in the exercise of their job duties and in society, the advisers, the heads of services and the inspectors must keep confidential any documents they hold. The information related to the cases on the records of the service, as well as any information related to the organisation and the performance of their activities should be made available to the media subject to the confidentiality of the personal data of the service recipients.

Do I have to report a crime before I can access victim support?

In order to have access to the victim support services, you must report the crime to the relevant bodies.

Personal protection if I’m in danger

What types of protection are available?

Both during the criminal investigation and during court proceedings, you are entitled to protective measures, when the judicial bodies deem that you might be in danger.

It is highly important for you to know that, if the judicial bodies deem that you might be in danger due to the information you provide or due to other causes, they may take, either on your application or on their own initiative, certain measures to ensure your protection, such as:

  • providing surveillance or security to your home or temporary housing;
  • providing escort and protection to you or to the members of your family during travels;
  • protecting your identity details (personal data may be omitted from the file in order to protect your identity by specifying that this information is secret);
  • hearing you via audio-visual means, with your voice and image being distorted, without there being a requirement for your presence, where the other measures do not suffice (in this way, you do not have to appear before the police officer, the prosecutor or the judge and you will not be in the same place as the offender);
  • keeping the court session private throughout your interview;

Moreover, during court proceedings, the court may forbid any publication of texts, drawings, pictures or images that might reveal your identity.

Furthermore, if you are a witness in the criminal proceedings or, even where you are not involved in the case, you provide information which helps the judicial bodies to solve cases related to serious crimes or to prevent significant damages from occurring, you can ask the police officer or the prosecutor who conducts the investigation to place you under the witness protection programme. This programme includes a number of measures such as:

  • secret identity, including participation in hearings with your voice or image being distorted;
  • police protection of your home and police escort when you have to go to the criminal investigation bodies;
  • relocation;
  • change of identity, including the change of your appearance, if required.

If you enter the witness protection programme, you will be able to benefit from additional assistance such as:

  • reinsertion in a different social environment;
  • acquiring new professional qualifications;
  • new job;
  • financial support until you find a new job.

If necessary, your relatives of first degree (such as your children, parents) and your spouse may enter the witness protection programme as well.

If you have not entered the witness protection programme during criminal investigation, you may apply for this programme during court proceedings.

Additional protection is available, depending on the type of crime:

  • If you are a victim of domestic violence, you can ask the court to ban the offender from staying at your shared home. Alternatively, you, as a victim, can be accommodated in a centre for victims of domestic violence. Such accommodation is available only in urgent cases when your safety requires isolation from the offender or when there is a written approval from the family assistant in charge of your case. Once in the centre you can receive accommodation, food, medical care, psychological counselling and legal assistance free of charge.
  • If you are a victim of human trafficking, you can be accommodated in a centre for victims’ protection. Accommodation is usually available for a period of 10 days, but the court may extend your stay until the end of the proceedings. If necessary, the police may provide physical protection during the criminal proceedings. If you are a victim of human trafficking, the court hearing will not be public.

If you deem that you are in danger, you should inform the police officer, the prosecutor or the judge and provide as much information as possible.

The above-mentioned measures are available both for the criminal investigation stage and for court proceedings.

Who can offer me protection?

You will receive the protection of the Romanian Police.

Will someone assess my case to see if I am at risk of further harm by the offender?

If, upon the completion of the criminal proceedings, you are still in danger, the judicial bodies will consider the advisability of including you in a witness protection programme, if you are not already part of that programme.

For victims of human trafficking, the risk will be assessed by the specialised structures of the police.

Will someone assess my case to see if I am at risk of further harm by the criminal justice system (during investigation and trial)?

Yes, your case can be assessed. For instance, the victims of certain categories of crimes (domestic violence, rape, sexual assault etc.) will be heard only by persons of the same sex if the victim requests this.

A second interview of the injured party will take place only if it is strictly necessary for the purpose of the criminal proceedings to avoid further harm to the victim.

In order to avoid further harm to the victim by having him/her repeatedly heard by the judicial bodies, the laws on criminal procedure also require that an injured party who has lodged a complaint in relation to a crime should be heard right away or, when this is not possible, after submitting the complaint, without undue delay.

A further measure benefiting to the victim is not to inform him/her about any release of the offender, if the victim has not specifically requested to be so informed.

What protection is available for very vulnerable victims?

If you are a vulnerable victim, you may benefit from the protective measures detailed in the above-mentioned answers on witness protection.

I am a minor – do I have special rights?

If you are a child victim of exploitation, violence, abuse, negligence or maltreatment or of any other crime, any person, including you, can report the crime to the police.

Minors are considered from the beginning vulnerable victims and the authorities should inform you about the protective measures you can receive.

Minors can receive assistance from the National Authority for Protection of Children's Rights and Adoption. If you are in danger, you can apply for an injunction to entitle you to accommodation in a place where you can receive protection (such as another family or a special centre).

If you are called to appear before the criminal investigation bodies and you are under 14 years of age, you must be accompanied by your parents or guardian. If your parents or guardians are involved in the criminal proceedings or might be interested in influencing your statement, the interview will take place in the presence of a relative or another person appointed by the police officer/prosecutor/judge.

Moreover, the judicial bodies may decide that a psychologist should attend to help you during the interviews. You can apply for it with the judicial bodies.

The interview must be recorded and, if this is not possible, it must be written down in a report.

You can be heard by the same person in specially designed/ adapted rooms, where available.

In the investigation of certain categories of crime, interviews may be conducted by a person of the same gender as the victim. You may also be accompanied by a person of your choice.

You are entitled to a legal representative throughout the proceedings. If you have no legal counsel, the court will assist you in finding one. If your family cannot afford to pay for the counsel's services, you are entitled to free legal assistance.

My family member died because of the crime – what are my rights?

The spouse, the child or a dependant of a person deceased as a result of murder and aggravated murder as set out in Articles 188 and 189 of the Criminal Code, as well as of intentional crimes leading to death is entitled to free legal assistance and to financial compensation from the State.

Free legal assistance is available also for further categories of crimes in addition to the foregoing, if the victim's monthly income per family member is no higher than the national basic minimum gross wage determined for the year when the application for free legal assistance is submitted.

My family member was a victim of crime – what are my rights?

Please see the above-mentioned information.

Can I access mediation services? What are the conditions? Will I be safe during mediation?

Mediation is possible only for less serious crimes listed in the criminal law. The procedure can be applied only if both you and the offender agree to participate. During the mediation procedure you will be invited to a series of meetings with the offender to discuss the possibilities for reconciliation. A person called a mediator will facilitate the meetings. If the procedure concludes with reconciliation, you can withdraw your complaint against the offender and the case will be closed. Otherwise, if the procedure has not been successful, the criminal proceedings will continue as if no mediation had ever occurred.

Where can I find the law stating my rights?

  • Law No 135/2010 regarding the Code of Criminal Procedure, as further amended and supplemented (Legea nr. 135/2010 privind Codul de procedură penală)
  • Law No 678/2001 regarding the prevention and countering of human trafficking, as further amended and supplemented (Legea nr. 678/2001 privind prevenirea și combaterea traficului de persoane)
  • Government Decision No 1216/2001 approving the National Action Plan regarding the countering of human trafficking (Hotărârea de Guvern nr. 1.216/2001 privind aprobarea Planului național de acțiune pentru combaterea traficului de ființe umane)
  • Law No 211/2004 regarding certain measures to protect victims of crime, as further amended and supplemented (Legea 211/2004 privind unele măsuri pentru asigurarea protecției victimelor infracțiunilor)
  • Government Decision No 1238/10 October 2007 approving the national specific standards for specialised assistance services to victims of human trafficking (Hotărârea Guvernului nr. 1238 din 10 octombrie 2007 pentru aprobarea Standardelor naționale specifice pentru serviciile specializate de asistență a victimelor traficului de persoane)
  • Law No 217/2003 regarding the prevention and countering of domestic violence, as further amended and supplemented (Legea 217/2003 pentru prevenirea și combaterea violenței în familie)
  • Law No 272/2004 for promoting and protecting children’s rights, as further amended and supplemented (Legea 272/2004 privind protecția și promovarea drepturilor copilului)
  • Law No 682/2002 regarding witness protection, as further amended and supplemented (Legea 682/2002 privind protecția martorilor)
  • Law No 192/2006 regarding mediation and the organisation of the mediator profession, as further amended and supplemented (Legea 192/2006 privind medierea și organizarea profesiei de mediator)
Last update: 10/09/2018

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