Support to Victims and Witnesses of Criminal Acts in the Republic of Croatia
The first research on support to crime victims and witnesses in Croatia was presented at the round table in Novinarski dom in Zagreb on Friday, July 20. The aim of the research, conducted among witnesses and judges, was to provide the comparative analysis of existing system of support to victims and witnesses in criminal offence cases in courts, and experiences and needs of the witnesses. The research shows that witnesses of criminal offences predominantly need: information on their rights (83.8%), legal counselling (68.5%), psychological and emotional support (60%), and guaranteed safety and protection of privacy.
Judges, on the other hand, believe that the most important legal options the victims currently do not have during testimony are as follows: psychological and emotional support (82.7%), free legal counselling (60.9%) and indemnification by the state (37.3%).
- In 94.6% of cases, witnesses-surveyees were not offered to contact the service or organization that could give them practical or psychological assistance, and as many as 69% of witnesses who did not have contact with a service for witness support think that this kind of contact would have been useful to them
- As many as 81.8% of judges noticed the witnesses were psychologically threatened, but often do not know where the witnesses may get assistance
- 68.2% of judges do not have enough information on organizations or experts that provide psychological and emotional assistance to victims and witnesses
- 94.6% of witnesses wait in the hallway until they are called to testify
- 60% of witnesses-surveyees feel uncomfortable during proceedings, in most part because of the contact with the defendant