In the last decades we witnessed a shift in how we communicate, with an increasing use of technology, most prominently the internet playing a key role. This presents its own set of new possibilities, expectations and challenges to which Victim Support may not be detached.
Victim support however remains with a generalised lack of responses adapted to XXIst century’s new needs and persists almost solely focused on the traditional models of support. In fact, some groups of victims cannot access traditional victim support intervention models as a direct effect of the characteristics of the victimization suffered or have other impediments to access traditional sit-in face-to-face models of support. Online support can be a response to tackle a great part of these problems.
Within Project T@lk – online support to victims of crime, implemented by VSE member APAV, a Survey about the distance-based support for victims of crime was conducted among victim support organisations on the online support services they provide and their willingness to implement such systems, if non-existent.
From August to September of 2016, 60 victim support organisations and support service providers in the 28 EU Member States participated on the survey, which allowed APAV to conclude that the majority of the sample is accustomed to operate distance-based support services, being those helplines, online support services or both. However, the survey identified 5 victim support organisations without either a helpline or an online support tool for delivering distance-based support to victims of crime.
The synchronous practices of online support (such as the chat) appear to be available, despite the relatively low levels of use by victims (in comparison with the utilization of the email and the website).
The results show that a significant proportion of victim support organisations/service providers without online support practices, despite the identification of several advantages in delivering support through online tools, is quite reluctant or undecided about their willingness to develop/implement online support.
The full report on the survey is also available here