Victims' rights - by country


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Can I appeal against a sentence or if the defendant is declared not guilty?

Is further appeal possible?

What rights do I have after the court sentence enters into force?

More information

Can I appeal against a sentence or if the defendant is declared not guilty?

If you did not have any specific procedural capacity during the proceedings, you cannot submit any appeals.

As a private prosecutor, you can appeal:

  • against the sentence within 10 days from its notification; you can have many grounds to appeal and the appeal permits revising evidence; this is an ‘ordinary’ appeal;
  • on points of law within five days from the notification of the sentence; the grounds are violation of law, violation of the Constitution and violation of form; this is an ‘extraordinary’ appeal.

As a civil claimant, you can only appeal against the sentence or on points of law, regarding the issues, related to your claim.

Is further appeal possible?

If you have firstly appealed against the sentence, then you can submit an appeal on points of law as a second appeal. Appeals on points of law are decided upon by the Supreme Court.

What rights do I have after the court sentence enters into force?

Your main right is to be told about the sentence of the defendant. Information regarding his/her release from prison might be considered part of his/her privacy and might not be disclosed to you.

Exceptionally, if you are a victim of a gender-based crime, you have to be informed about the procedural situation of the defendant and how he or she serves his/her penalty, while a protection order or a distancing measure is in force.

If you were a private prosecutor in the proceedings, you can take part in the suspension of the defendant’s penalty. A prison sentence of less than two years can be suspended if there is no relapse for a certain period of time. After that period, the sentence is forgiven. The court decides on the suspension and you can take part in the hearing.

If the sentence enters into force and it is still necessary, you can still be protected, at the judge’s discretion. You can have police protection or, in exceptional circumstances, new identity and economic help to change your place of residence or workplace.

You can also be protected by the very nature of some types of sentences or measures, imposed on the offender - distancing measures, deprivation of parental rights, guardianship or the right to carry and use arms, etc. Also, in cases of suspension of sentence before entering prison, the judge can impose upon the offender a prohibition on entering certain places or approaching you, the obligation to participate in special educational programmes, etc.

You can continue to obtain assistance from the Offices of Assistance to Victims of Crime (1).

More information

  • Penal Code (Código penal) – in Spanish
  • Criminal Procedure Law (Ley de Enjuiciamiento Criminal) – in Spanish
  • · Organic Law 19/1994, 23 December, on Protection of Witnesses and Experts in Criminal Procedures (Ley de Protección a Testigos y Peritos en Causas Criminales) – in Spanish



1. Offices of assistance to victims of crime
At police level, Offices of Assistance to Victims of Crime employ specially trained police officers of both sexes, who can offer you assistance, especially if you are a minor, a victim of a sexual offence, gender-based violence, female circumcision, etc. They assist you, help you to report a crime and refer you to other services, if needed.
At court level, there are Offices in each judicial area, offering you assistance by multidisciplinary teams of experts. Their main tasks are to give you an individualised service, information on your rights, to assess your personal circumstances, the level of the impact of the crime on you and your need of other services. They usually offer:
· assistance to prepare for the oral trial;
· assistance to request a protection order in case of gender-based violence; and
· psychological and emotional support.
Social workers from the Offices can also offer you ‘accompaniment to the trial’. They can come with you to the trial room before the date of the hearing, sometimes do a role play of the trial, help you prepare your statement, think of possible questions you will be asked, etc. They can also accompany you on the day of the trial.
Last update: 11/03/2020

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