Victims and Corporations: Legal Challenges and Empirical Findings

Victims and Corporations. Implementation of Directive 2012/29/EU for victims of corporate crimes and corporate violence



The "Victims and Corporations" project was coordinated by “Federico Stella”  Research Centre for Criminal Justice and Policy of Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore (now Graduate School) and funded under the joint programme "Rights, Equality and Citizenship" and "Justice" 2014 of the European Commission (Directorate General Justice and Consumers). The project activities took place in three countries: Italy, Germany, and Belgium.
The project started in January 2016 and ended in December 2017 and included study and research activities (both theoretical and empirical) and dissemination activities and training sessions for law practitioners and other relevant actors, as well as the development of guidelines and good practices.
One of the main objectives of the project was to know and understand the experiences and needs of victims of crimes committed by corporations in the course of their business activities, which have resulted in damage to health, physical integrity or life. The project focused in particular on offences arising from violations of relevant laws in the fields of environmental protection, production and sale of drugs and medical devices, and food safety.


The guidelines

In order to effectively implement Directive 2012/29/EU, a set of guidelines have been drawn up during the project, also thanks to the direct participation of all stakeholders, aimed at all professional categories most directly involved in supporting and protecting victims, with particular reference to

  • judges, prosecutors, and police officers 
  • lawyers.
  • operators of social services, restorative justice centres and organisations offering assistance to victims.
  • corporations.

In addition to a broader and common set of guidelines for the individual assessment of the needs of victims of corporate violence.


Training activities

In 2017 special training sessions, as well as training packages, were addressed separately to:

  • police officers
  • social workers, psychologists and doctors, staff of public or private victim support services, members of victim associations, mediators and operators of restorative justice programmes
  • lawyers
  • prosecutors and judges.
  • corporate officers and employees.

Training activities were aimed at enabling the recognition of victims of corporate violence; developing appropriate ways of approaching these victims in order to better identify their needs; correctly identifying specific problems of access to justice by victims of corporate violence; assessing their individual protection needs and specific assistance and support needs; ensuring greater possibilities for victims to obtain compensation and reparation, including out-of-court redress; promoting corporate social responsibility and reducing the judicial burden.

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