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right to information
 
The right to information is very important, because only well-informed victims can participate fully in the proceedings and exercise their rights.

Information should be given to the victims in a simple and accessible form, so that they may fully understand it.
If any victim feels fragile and in need of support, they can be accompanied by a family member, a friend, a lawyer or a victim support officer, who can help them understand and remember the information provided.

Victims of crime are entitled to receive information about their rights, the progress of the case (with the exception of situations where this is not permitted because of judicial secrecy requirements) and the main decisions made in their case.
Information should be provided to them at each stage of the proceedings by the responsible authority and the Public Prosecution Service has a particularly significant role. In addition, victim support services have an important function as a source of information.

APAV can help you by providing information about your rights, how to exercise them and how to obtain information about the case.

 
     
 
 
Information about rights
From the first moment of contact with any authority, whether it is the Public Prosecution Service or the police, the victim is entitled to be informed about the following:
  • what kinds of support are available and who can provide them, including medical assistance, psychological counselling, specialised services and, if necessary, accommodation;
  • how and where to file a complaint or report a crime;
  • how and under what conditions you may obtain protection;
  • how to obtain legal advice and legal aid;
  • how and when to seek compensation from the offender;
  • in the case of violent or domestic violence crimes, how and when to claim compensation from the State;
  • how to obtain interpretation and translation services;
  • if the victim does not live in Portugal, what special procedures are in place to defend their rights in this country;
  • how to make a complaint if your rights are not respected by the authorities;
  • contact details of authorities which the victim should use to give or ask for information about the case;
  • which mediation services are available;
  • how and when to claim reimbursement of expenses for participating in the proceedings and when this is applicable.
This information may vary depending on the specific needs and personal circumstances of the victim and on the type of crime. Additional information is available at different stages of the case.
 
     
     
 
Information about the case
The victim is entitled, upon request, to be informed about any follow-up done on the report made, including the decision to charge the defendant or to close or provisionally suspend proceedings. The victim is also entitled to be informed of the date, time and place of the trial and of the judgment.

To this end, when victims are given information about their rights, they should declare their wish to be notified of any decisions made in the criminal proceedings and the reasoning for such decisions.

Victims are entitled not to want to be informed about all of the above. However, they cannot refuse to be informed if their role in the proceeding as a civil party or as an assistant requires them to be notified so that the defence of their rights and interests can go ahead.

Victims are entitled to be informed if the defendant or convicted criminal is released or escapes from prison, particularly when the defendant is considered potentially dangerous to the victim, and given information about key judicial decisions affecting the defendant's status, in particular the use of restrictive measures.

This information should be provided at each stage of the proceedings by the responsible authority - the Public Prosecution Service, police, examining judge or trial judge.

Victims are also entitled to view the case file, except when judicial secrecy applies during the inquiry stage or the public prosecutor opposes the viewing on the grounds that it could jeopardise the investigation or the rights of the parties in the proceedings.