a natural person who has suffered harm, including physical, mental or emotional harm or economic loss which was directly caused by a criminal offence, as well as the family members of a person whose death was directly caused by a criminal offence and who have suffered harm as a result of that person's death.

Additional notes and information

In relation to violence against women, the term ‘victim’ is often used interchangeably with the term ‘survivor’. However, the term victim has been subject to criticism as it denies agency to women subjected to gender-based violence, in particular victims of rape. It has thus been suggested that the term survivor should be used. The debates in relation to this terminology are ongoing.

Despite the current debates on terms ‘victim’ and ‘survivor’ − for the sake of clarity and consistency − in all definitions in the Gender Equality Glossary related to gender-based violence we use term ‘victim’ as the same term is used in European and international sources.


Directive 2012/29/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 October 2012 establishing minimum standards on the rights, support and protection of victims of crime, and replacing Council Framework Decision 2001/220/JHA