We at the Commission for Victims and Survivors for Northern Ireland believe passionately in our work and the rights of all victims and survivors to be heard, to be respected and to have access to services that are the best they can be.
Our Vision is to improve the lives of all victims and survivors of the Conflict.
Our Mission is to address the needs of all victim and survivors by ensuring excellent service provision, acknowledging the legacy of the past and building for a better future.
All our work is underpinned by a number of core values. We use these in our day to day work and we seek outcomes based on the fulfilment of these values.
These values are as follows:
• Victim Centred – Victims and survivors are at the centre of all we do and we will encourage and value their participation.
• Open and transparent – We are open, honest, accountable and responsive in all our work.
• Equality and diversity – We will treat everyone equally and challenge inequality with impartiality, independence and integrity.
• Respect – We will be courteous and professional in our approach to everyone who contacts us.
• Impartiality – We will uphold our independence and maintain a critical distance to challenge Government and relevant authorities.
• Delivering Quality – We will strive to deliver all of our programmes to a high standard.
Crime Victims Helpline has a team of highly trained volunteers who have a deep understanding of the issues and difficulties faced by victims of crime. One of the main strengths of the organisation is their excellent relationship with An Garda Síochána, being therefore able to assist callers by liaising with An Garda Síochána, as well as helping them to access a wide range of statutory and voluntary organisations.
Crime Victims Helpline provides support to victims, witnesses, their families and friends, partners, husband/wives and colleagues. Practical, psychological and emotional support are available, as well as assistance to apply for compensation, information on victims’ rights and the national criminal justice system. The organisation also provides support to specific groups of victims, namely: elderly people, persons with disabilities, immigrant, transnational/cross-border and hate crime victims. Victims may contact Crime Victims Helpline through telephone/hotline (service available in English, Irish, Russian, Portuguese and French), e-mail or letter (both in English).
Croatian Victim and Witness Support Service (VWSS) has been working on improving the rights of crime victims and witnesses for 9 years. VWSS offers psychosocial support, legal information and guidance to those who have fallen victim to crime. Also, VWSS actively influences the legal system and sensitizes the society about the challenges and problems victims are facing. Currently, VWSS has two active programs: the National Call Center for Victims of Crimes and the Reference Center for Direct Support.
The National Call Center for Victims of Crimes has a universal toll-free number 116 006 where volunteers offer legal information, emotional support and refer callers to relevant organizations in both Croatian and English.
The Reference Center for Direct Support offers comprehensive support before, during and after judicial proceedings. Via the Reference Center, VWSS extends its scope to providing free legal aid to victims living in certain areas of Croatia.
Also, VWSS carries out actions focused on strengthening the capacity of NGOs in terms of providing support. Its main goal is the expansion of organizations which provide psychosocial support to victims and witnesses.
More information about the Victim and Witness Support Service can be found on: www.pzs.hr
Institut National d’Aide aux Victimes et de Médiation (INAVEM), the national federation, groups together 142 victim support associations in France. The associations provide help to all victims: victims of intentional crimes or of non intentional crimes (traffic accidents…), individual victims or victims of mass disasters (airplane crashes…), as well as to: witnesses, family and friends of victims, their partners, husband/wives and colleagues. Support to specific groups of victims is available: children, young and elderly people, persons with disabilities, immigrant, transnational/cross border and hate crime victims.
INAVEM provides different types of support, namely: practical, psychological, legal, social, emotional, assistance to apply for compensation, information on victims’ rights and about the national criminal justice system. Victims usually contact the organisation through: telephone, face-to-face, letter, e-mail and social networks (all in French). However they may also contact INAVEM through the hotline, go personally to a local scheme and by being referred by the police and public prosecutor’s office.
The Irish Tourist Assistance Service is a specialist service offering immediate support and practical assistance to cross border victims. The Organisation has built up an extensive network of support with the Police, embassies and tourism industry to offer the best possible care to tourists in the aftermath of crime. The Organisation provides support to victims, witnesses, their families and friends, partners, husband/wives and anyone who is directly or indirectly involved with the victimisation.
A victim may contact the Irish Tourist Assistance Service through the hotline, go personally to a local scheme, by e-mail, through police, embassies and other tourism industries referral. There a victim may find practical and emotional support, as well as assistance to apply for compensation, short term assistance with accommodation, meals and transport in emergency situations, information on victims’ rights and the national criminal justice system.
The Mayor of London heads the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime (MOPAC), which is responsible for policing in London. MOPAC assumed responsibility for victims’ services in London from October 2014; it commissions victims services for London, working in partnership with all Criminal Justice System (CJS) agencies.
Support for victims and witnesses in Republic of Croatia is organised within the justice system on two levels:
1. Ministry of Justice, Independent Service for Victim and Witness Support
2. Victim and Witness Support Offices at courts
I. Independent Service for Victim and Witness Support at the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) is central body for coordination of development of victim and witness support system. Its responsibilities are:
– Coordination of the victim and witness support system in general
– International and national cooperation (with the police, social service, probation service – Sector for Probation MoJ, Prison System Directorate – MoJ, NGOs)
– Coordination of Victim and Witness Support Offices at the courts. Organization and provision of education/training; supervision for employees and volunteers of Support Offices at courts
– Provision of information and support to victims and witnesses that are summoned over the mutual international legal assistance (information about the rights in written form, information and psychological support provided over the phone; referral to other relevant services; for victims and witnesses in war crime cases provision of: logistical support, transportation, police escort and protection, hotel accommodation as well as all the necessary information and support)
– Provision of information to victims about the release of the offender from prison and additional help in coordination with other relevant services
– Contacting victims on the request of the prison in order to determine victim’s attitude towards the criminal offence (the reports on the victim’s attitude can be requested by the prison from MoJ, police, social welfare centres, when deciding whether to allow the prisoner to use benefits of going out of the prison to their address of residence)
– Provision of compensation to victims: according to the Crime Victims Compensation Act
– Coordination of the National Committee for Monitoring and Development of Victim and Witness Support System
– Monitoring the work of the National Call Center for Victims of Crime and Misdemeanors – 116 006, which is established in cooperation between Ministry of Justice and Victim and Witness Support Association
– Membership in different State’s bodies enables our cooperation with relevant stakeholders. Representatives of Independent Service are members of: National team for Prevention and Combating Domestic Violence and Violence against Women, National Committee for Combating Human Trafficking and Operative Team of the National Committee for Combating Human Trafficking
II. Courts – Victim and Witness Support Offices at courts
There are seven Victim and Witness Support Offices at the County Courts in Zagreb, Osijek, Sisak, Vukovar, Zadar, Split and Rijeka. Support is also provided at the Municipal and the Misdemeanor Courts.
Support Offices provide different types of support to victims and witnesses: emotional support, practical help and information; information on victims’ rights; information about the national criminal justice system; assistance in applying for compensation, with special consideration for the needs of vulnerable or intimidated witnesses.
Support Offices are available for victims and witnesses, members of their families and persons accompanying them.
Support is provided by highly qualified employees of the court and volunteers, before, during and after the criminal proceedings – from the moment of reporting the crime to the police until the end of the court proceedings. Victims and witnesses can contact offices by telephone, e-mail, letter or personally at the Support Office premises.
Victims and witnesses are usually informed and referred to the Victim and Witness Support Offices by the police, court’s subpoena, local NGOs, National Call Center for Victims of Crime and Misdemeanors – 116 006, social welfare centres and personally upon arrival at the court.
As a part of interagency cooperation victims and witnesses are also referred by Support Offices and MoJ to relevant institutions and organisations which provide specialised services for victims, in order to address their specific needs and to get additional forms of help.
For more information, visit our Ministry of Justice website: