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Right to access professional support services
 

Entities recorded in the Register of Aid Providers for Crime Victims provide the victims with professional aid at no cost. That means psychological counselling, social counselling, legal aid, providing legal information or restorative programs prior to the opening of criminal proceedings, during their course as well as after their closing.
Professional aid is provided for as long as its purpose requires it.

 
     
 
 
Right to information

CRIME VICTIM’S RIGHTS:

The police and public prosecutor provide a victim with the following information:
a) what particular authority to file a complaint with, regarding facts leading to a conclusion that criminal offence was committed; the victim also receives contact information to this authority,
b) what particular subjects the victim can turn to for support; the victim receives contact information to these subjects as well as advice about where to find more information on the matter,
c) under what circumstances the victim is entitled to have measures taken in order to ensure their safety under other legislation (eviction, short-term protection),
d) What stages follow after filing the criminal complaint and what the role of the victim is in those stages,
e) under what circumstances and to what extent the victim is entitled to financial support.
In addition, Municipal Police, Military Police, Czech Prison Administration or Customs and medical centres are also obligated to provide essential information.

The provider of support to the crime victims informs on
a) services provided to the victim, their extent including the information on whether the services are free of charge; if the required service is not available, the victim is referred to another subject enrolled in the Register of Aid Providers for Crime Victims that provides such service,
b) the rights of crime victims,
c) the rights of the victim as an injured party under Criminal Law,
d) the development of criminal proceedings and the victim’s position as a victim and a witness in the proceedings. 

The law enforcement authority provides the information that

a) final decision has been announced, which closes the criminal proceedings, alternatively information that criminal proceedings has not been opened, or
b) information on the status of criminal proceedings, with the exception of cases where this information might endanger achieving the purpose of criminal proceedings.

The prison and/or health service provider,
where the convict serves their sentence or in whose medical centre they undergo compulsory treatment, or a detention facility inform the victim at their request on
a) the convict’s release or escape from prison ,
b) the convict’s release or escape from custodial sentence,
c) interruption of custodial sentence,
d) the convict’s release or escape from compulsory institutional treatment,
e) the change from institutional treatment into outpatient treatment,
f) the convict’s release or escape from a detention facility,
g) the change from detention into compulsory treatment,
h) any extradition of the defendant or convict to a foreign country or their transfer to another EU state under international judicial cooperation in criminal matters.

If possible, victims who do not speak Czech are entitled to receive the above mentioned information in the language they claim to understand or in the official language spoken in their country of residence.


Victim’s rights during criminal proceedings:


Access to criminal file (Section 65 of Criminal Procedure Code)
The injured party is also a witness in most cases, this fact may restrict their rights in some ways, specifically for example their right to access depositions of other witnesses prior to their testimony at a trial.
It is a part of this victim’s right to take notes from the file as well as having photocopies of the whole file or its parts made at the victim’s expense. The amount of costs is established in internal regulations.
This right can be exercised on the basis of request for permission to access the criminal file at the police authority’s (during preliminary criminal investigations) or at a criminal office at court (after a trial has been ordered).
If the victim is denied access to the criminal file and this decision is ratified by a public prosecutor, they may request the access to the file again at the same time as the defendant is granted access to the file. We suggest requesting the police authority to allow the exercise of this right beforehand.

Delivery of decisions which can be appealed against (complaint, appeal) (Section 64 paragraph 1 b) Criminal Procedure Code). This right needn’t be expressly exercised (law enforcement authorities are always obligated to deliver these decisions in case the addressee is known to them).
The address stated by the injured party for delivery purposes needn’t correspond with the victim’s permanent address of residence. It can be any address where s/he collects post.

Providing information in accordance with the Victims of Crime (Financial Assistance) Act (Act N. 45/2013 Coll.)
This right can be exercised by means of oral or written inquiry addressed to police authority or public prosecutor.
In the course of proceedings concerning criminal offence resulting in bodily harm or death, law enforcement authorities are obligated to inform the injured party on the terms of application for financial assistance. The application is addressed to the Ministry of Justice, Department of Compensations. You can find more information further in this brochure.

Attending a trial (Section 43 paragraph 1 Criminal Procedure Code)
Attending a trial may also be an obligation for the injured party in case s/he is to stand up as a witness there. The victim has the right to require avoiding contact with the offender during the hearing in such situation.
This right can be exercised on the basis of court’s notice about trial where the injured party will appear (s/he is often called in evidence at the trial).

 
     
 
 
Right to protection against imminent danger

Police officer performs an act or takes other precautions in order to ensure safety of the victim in case their safety is in jeopardy. Customs officers, members of Prison Guard officers, Military Police officers and Municipal Police officers have the same obligation.

The police
– provides short-term protection of the victim in accordance with the law,
- evicts a cohabitant from joint accommodation in accordance with the law.

Court issues an interim measure on victim’s request in civil judicial proceedings in case the victim’s life, health, freedom or dignity are in danger.  
A court or a public prosecutor issues interim measure in the course of criminal proceedings in accordance with the code of criminal procedure.
The law provides for the possibility to render special protection to a witness or to keep the identity and appearance of a victim in the witness position undisclosed. 

 
     
 
 
Right to protection of privacy

Prohibition of releasing information that might enable disclosure of victim’s identity is governed by the code of criminal procedure.

If required by the victim, their lawyer, legal representative, guardian or confidant, the information on their residence and delivery address, their place of work, employment or business, and/or their personal, family and financial relations in a way that only allows law enforcement authorities, police officers and Probation and Mediation Services officers conducting the proceedings to get acquainted with them.
If it is crucial in order to achieve the purpose of proceedings or to exercise the defendant’s rights, the information is made available by an authorised police officer or law enforcement authority; a record of allowing access to the information and its purposes is made on file.

 
     
 
 
Right to be protected from secondary harm

In order to protect the crime victims against subsequent new harm, the so-called secondary victimisation, the law states that:

  • Victim has the right to request necessary precautions to be made during all proceedings s/he takes part in to prevent any contact with a person whom the victim has identified as an offender, who is suspected of committing criminal offence or against whom criminal proceedings are conducted.
  • Questions directed at victim’s intimate areas can only be asked if it is essential for clarification of the facts important for the criminal proceedings. Such questions must be asked rather considerately and in a manner that ensures no further or repeated examination into the matter; their formulations must be not only considerate but also adjusted to victim’s age, personal experience and their mental and emotional state.
  • Victim has the right to object to the direction of the question at any time.
    The objection will be recorded on file. Legitimacy of the objection will be assessed by the examining authority.
  • Victim can request to be examined by a person of the same sex or of the opposite sex during preliminary criminal proceedings. The request of a vulnerable victim must be granted unless there are substantial reasons not to. Reasons leading to declining the request will be recorded on file of the proceedings.
  • Vulnerable victim can request an interpreter of the same or the opposite sex in case interpretation is necessary.
  • Vulnerable victim must be examined rather considerately and with regard to the particular circumstances which make them vulnerable during criminal proceedings.
  • If possible, vulnerable victims are examined by a trained professional during preliminary criminal proceedings. It automatically applies to examining child victims unless such trained professional cannot be provided due to urgency of the proceedings.
  • Examination of   vulnerable victim is conducted in such manner that ensures no further repetition of the questioning. In case of repeated examination at the same authority, the same person conducts the examination if possible.
  • If vulnerable victim wishes to avoid the suspect of the criminal offence (or a person against whom the criminal proceedings are conducted), necessary measures are taken to prevent such contact from happening unless serious circumstances make it impossible. Audiovisual technology is used especially. At the same time, it is essential not to violate the right of defence.
  • Victim has the right to be accompanied by confidant to all acts of criminal proceedings and to provide explanations.
  • At any stage of criminal proceedings victim has the right to make a statement describing the consequences the criminal offence has had on their present life so far.
    Victim can also make such statement in writing.
 
     
 
 
Victim Impact Statement

At any stage of criminal proceedings victim has the right to make a statement describing the consequences the criminal offence has had on their present life so far.
Victim can also make such statement in writing.

 
     
 
 
Right to file a complaint

The injured party has the right to request all failures or delays caused by police authorities or public prosecutor to be eliminated and this situation to be rectified in the sense of Section 157 of the code of criminal procedure.

The injured party has the right to make a complaint in writing or have an oral statement filed giving notice of specific deficiencies or misconduct of the particular authorities.
If the complaint of the injured party concerns the conduct of the police authority, it ought to be addressed to the public prosecutor assigned to supervise the matter.

In case the complaint concerns the conduct of the public prosecutor, it ought to be addressed to a public prosecutor directly superior to him/her.

 
     
 
 
Cooperation with organisations
providing support to victims of criminal offences

In the Czech Republic there are organisations providing support to victims and witnesses of criminal offences. In principle, these are non-profit organisations which the victims and/or witnesses of criminal offences can contact and take advantage of the services these organisations offer. One of the substantial organisations is Bílý kruh bezpečí which provides legal information, practical advice, psychological counselling, advice concerning compensation for the harm caused, moral and emotional support, and other types of individual support for not only the victims and witnesses of criminal offences but also their survivors, all that free of charge.

For more information on Bílý kruh bezpečí visit its web site on www.bkb.cz.

Other services available in the Czech Republic can be found, for example, in a Register of Social Service Providers – http://iregistr.mpsv.cz/

 
     
 
 
Right to interpreting and translation

In the course of proceedings before law enforcement authorities, every individual who claims not to be fluent in Czech language during criminal proceedings is entitled to use their mother tongue or a language s/he claims to be fluent in.
In that case, interpreters are present at the hearings, they interpret from Czech to foreign language (and vice versa) and/or translate documents when necessary.
The cost of interpreting and translating documents are reimbursed by the state.