Anyone can be the victim of a crime.
Don't think that it only happens to others.
A victim of crime is someone who, as a result of an infringement of criminal law, has been subjected to an attack on his/her life or physical or mental integrity, or to emotional distress or material loss.
The close relatives of or persons for whom the victim is directly responsible are also considered victims
, as are those who suffered any kind of damage as a result of trying to help the victims or stop the crime against them.
Most actions that are considered a crime in Portugal are described in the Criminal Code. Some crimes such as drug trafficking or possession of an illegal weapon are provided for in other legislation.
If you were or are a victim of crime, you should report it to the authorities.
To find out more about how to report a crime, click here.
The victim of a crime has a number of rights and it is important to be aware of them. To know more about the rights of the victims of crime click here.
In criminal proceedings, the victim is almost always asked to participate as a witness
, as his/her direct knowledge of what happened is very important for arriving at the truth.
To find out more about witnesses, click here.
However, a victim who wishes to claim compensation against the defendant due to the harm caused by the crime
, apart from participating in the proceedings as a witness, may also take part in the proceedings as a civil party. As a civil party, he/she files a claim for compensation and submits evidence of the losses caused.
To find out more about the right to compensation, click here.
If the victim wishes to take a more active role in the proceedings, he/she can request the status of assistant.
The assistant's role is to cooperate with the Public Prosecutor and, upon taking this status, the victim has the chance to participate more actively in the proceedings. For example, the assistant may oppose the provisional suspension of the proceedings or participate actively in the drafting of the orders necessary for accepting the suspension of the proceedings, request measures that he/she considers necessary, request the commencement of the examination stage if he/she does not agree with the decision of the Public Prosecution Service at the end of the inquiry stage, lodge an appeal against any decisions that affect them, among others.
In order to be granted the status of assistant, the victim must be represented by a lawyer.
In addition, he/she will have to pay a court fee of one Account Unit
(with the exception of victims of domestic violence, who are exempted of court fees).
If the victim cannot afford to pay legal fees, court fees and other expenses in the proceedings, he/she may apply for legal aid.
To find out more about the right to legal aid, click here.