The rights of victims in criminal proceedings

The Dutch administrative body is working to strengthen the rights of victims in criminal proceedings. One way of doing so is to give victims the right to information, both about the proceedings and about the scope for claiming damages. In addition, victims and surviving relatives have the right to be treated with respect, to be given the assistance of an interpreter and/or attorney, and in certain cases to present their point of view in court. These rights are laid down in the Victims’ Status (Legal Proceedings) Act.

The administrative body’s plans include an undertaking to strengthen the position of the victims of crime. Victim support is to be improved. Besides this, a provision for the seizure of assets is to be introduced in criminal law. This will enable the police to seize money and goods from those suspected of a serious crime at an early stage of an investigation. These assets can subsequently be used, following a final and unappealable conviction, to compensate the victims for damage suffered.

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Suspects

The police can arrest someone who is suspected of committing a criminal offence and question him.

Trial

Once the investigation has been concluded, the public prosecutor may decide to prosecute a suspect. In

Conviction

At the hearing, the court either acquits or convicts the defendant, or discharges him from prosecution

Appeal

On appeal, a different (higher) court reviews the case. This court may convict or acquit the