What information will I get from the authority after the crime occurred (e.g. police, public prosecutor) but before I even report the crime?
From your first contact with the police, you will receive information that will allow you to properly exercise your rights. Specifically, you will receive information about:
- the authority with which you can file a criminal complaint, and you will receive the contact details of that authority;
- who you can contact with a request for professional assistance, and under what conditions the professional assistance is free of charge; you will also receive contact details of professionals providing assistance;
- the conditions under which you are entitled to measures to ensure your safety;
- where to get more information about the case in which you are the victim;
- the stages of criminal proceedings and your role in them;
- the authority where you can request more information; you will also receive the contact details of that authority;
- the conditions under which you are entitled to financial assistance;
- the closest shelters, intervention centres or other similar facilities you can contact;
- the nearest healthcare provider you can contact;
- how to seek redress if your rights have been violated by a public authority;
- the measures you may request to protect your interests if you are residing in another EU Member State;
- what other rights you have under the Victims of Crimes Act.
I don’t live in the EU country where the crime took place (EU and non-EU citizens). How are my rights protected?
You are guaranteed the same rights as citizens of the Czech Republic and persons residing in the Czech Republic. If you declare that you do not speak Czech, you will be given information about your rights in a language you understand or in the official language of the state you are a citizen of.
If I report a crime, what information will I receive?
If you file a complaint with the police, you must be given all the information that must be provided at the time of your first contact with the police, as specified above.
If you are filing a criminal complaint with a public prosecutor, you must always receive information about:
- where you can request professional assistance, and under what conditions the professional assistance is free of charge; you will also receive contact details of professionals providing assistance;
- the conditions under which you are entitled to measures to ensure your safety;
- where to get more information about the case in which you are the victim.
Am I entitled to free interpreting or translation services (when I contact the police or other authorities, or during the investigation and trial)?
When you are dealing with law enforcement authorities and you do not speak Czech, you may use your mother tongue or a language you have indicated that you speak.
If it is possible, the translation of the final decision terminating the proceedings will be handed to you at your request. To the extent necessary for the exercise of your rights in the proceedings, a translation of other documents may also be provided to you upon your reasoned request.
How does the authority ensure that I understand and that I am understood (if I am a child; if I have a disability)?
The authorities have an obligation to inform the victims in a comprehensible manner, taking into account their age, intellectual and volitional maturity, literacy and health, including their psychological state. If possible, interviews of children and persons with disabilities must be carried out by a person specially trained to do so.
Victim support services
Who provides victim support?
Victims support is provided by several groups of entities. These include the state centres of the Probation and Mediation Service, as well as private entities accredited by the Ministry of Justice to provide legal information and/or restoration programmes, and entities authorised by the Social Services Act to provide psychological and social counselling services. Legal assistance to victims is provided by some lawyers. These entities are entered in the register of victim assistance providers, which is maintained by the Ministry of Justice and accessible from the Ministry of Justice website at https://www.justice.cz/.
Will the police automatically refer me to victim support?
Yes, you will be automatically informed about victim support during your first contact with the police. You will receive contact details of the authorities providing assistance.
How is my privacy protected?
In general, law enforcement authorities are not allowed to publish information that is not directly related to criminal activity. In pre-trial proceedings, any information that may lead to your identity being revealed must not be disclosed. Special protection is granted to the privacy of persons under the age of 18. If you so request, information about your private life (your residence and delivery address, place of work or business, and your personal, family, and property situation) will be maintained in such a way that it can be accessed only by the law enforcement authorities, police officers and Probation and Mediation Service officers involved in the case. It may be made accessible only if this is necessary to achieve the purpose of the criminal proceedings or for the person against whom the criminal proceedings are conducted to properly exercise their right of defence.
Do I have to report a crime before I can access victim support?
No, professional assistance is available before the criminal proceedings begin. Even before the crime is reported, you may receive professional assistance if it is necessary and expedient.
Personal protection if I’m in danger
What types of protection are available?
There are a number of options for the protection of victims.
Police may provide you with ‘short-term protection’ if you are likely to be at risk of bodily harm or another serious risk. Such protection may include physical protection, change of your residence or advisory and preventive activities. The police may also order the accused person to leave the household you live in together and its vicinity for a period of 10 days if there is a risk of attack against your life or health.
If the victim’s safety is at risk, the police officer carries out actions or takes measures to ensure the victim’s safety. Prison Service officers, military police officers and municipal police officers have the same obligation.
In more serious situations, you are eligible under certain conditions for special protection which is provided to witnesses and other persons who are likely to be at risk of bodily harm or another serious risk in connection with criminal proceedings. Such protection includes personal protection, change of residence and assistance with social inclusion in a new environment, concealment of true identity, etc. This is a very serious measure, which should be used only when necessary.
Protection provided by courts or public prosecutors takes the form of precautionary measures used in the criminal proceedings, for example prohibiting the accused person to contact the victim or to enter the common household where the victim lives. Similar precautionary measures may also be taken by a court in civil proceedings. If protecting you, as a victim or a harmed party, requires taking the accused person into custody, he or she may be taken into custody if there are grounds to believe that the accused person will repeat the crime, complete the crime or commit a crime he or she has been preparing or threatening to commit.
In addition, you have the right to request that steps be taken in criminal proceedings to prevent your contact with the alleged offender.
At your request, you have the right to receive information about the release or escape of the accused person from custody, prison or a security detention centre, and other similar information.
If you are a witness, you may testify with your identity concealed under certain conditions.
A judicial body may also issue a European protection order for your protection.
Who can offer me protection?
Protection is offered by the authorities mentioned above, in particular the police and courts through their decisions.
Will someone assess my case to see if I am at risk of further harm by the offender?
The situation is always assessed by the law enforcement authorities. If they find any danger, they will take the necessary steps.
Will someone assess my case to see if I am at risk of further harm by the criminal justice system (during investigation and trial)?
The law enforcement authorities must always act in such a way as to prevent further harm to the victim as a result of the offence or secondary harm.
If a law enforcement authority has violated your rights or you have not been able to exercise them fully, you have the right to seek redress. Above all, you have the right to apply for a review of the police authority’s conduct or litigate for compensation for damage or reasonable satisfaction for non-pecuniary harm caused by a public authority in the exercise of its powers.
What protection is available for very vulnerable victims?
Especially vulnerable victims include children, the elderly or persons with disabilities and victims of certain crimes such as human trafficking, terrorist attacks, sexual crimes against human dignity, or certain violent crimes. Particularly vulnerable victims may naturally take advantage of all the possibilities of protection mentioned above, and it is often the case that the competent authority is, in principle, obliged to accept the application of a particularly vulnerable victim. The scope of rights of particularly vulnerable victims is generally broader; however, this does not apply directly to the protection of victims, which depends more on whether the victim is at risk of suffering bodily harm or another serious risk.
I am a minor – do I have special rights?
Yes, as a child (a person below the age of 18), you are a particularly vulnerable victim and you are entitled to special rights. These include the right to free legal assistance in criminal proceedings, the right to have interviews conducted in a particularly sensitive manner by a trained person, limit on repeated interviews or the right to prevent immediate visual contact with the offender, as well as limit on exemptions from some other rights pertaining to all victims.
My family member died because of the crime – what are my rights?
If you suffer harm due to the death of a family member as a result of a criminal offence, you are considered a victim yourself, and you have the rights conferred by the status of a victim.
My family member was a victim of crime – what are my rights?
In this case, you are not considered a victim. However, you can become a victim’s person of confidence if the victim chooses you as such. The victim has the right to be accompanied by a person of confidence during criminal proceedings and when giving explanation. A person of confidence may be excluded only in exceptional cases.
Can I access mediation services? What are the conditions? Will I be safe during mediation?
Yes. The Probation and Mediation Service, which is one of the victim assistance providers, provides mediation services. Mediation is free and based on the consent of both parties, i.e. the victim and the offender. Mediation is conducted by a conflict resolution expert who maintains a friendly and balanced approach to both parties and helps to find a solution. The Probation and Mediation Service is a State organisational unit whose mission is, among other things, to mediate an effective and socially beneficial resolution of crime-related conflicts, and which, as such, is able to ensure the victim’s security during mediation negotiations.
Where can I find the law stating my rights?
The main provisions are those of Act No 45/2013, on victims of crimes. The Collection of Laws may be consulted on working days at any municipal and regional authority (including the Prague City Hall). Like other legislation, this law is also available online, for example on the Public Administration Portal or on the Ministry of the Interior website
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