VSE supports knowledge exchange and best practice to help implement and monitor victims’ rights, increase and improve the delivery of local services, and develop new policies and practices.
We have joined up with Member and non-member organisations on a range of projects, assisting with project applications and supporting projects through policy inputs, quality assurance, dissemination of results etc. You can find examples of projects we have been involved in below.
Project FYDO – Facility Dogs in Europe
It is known that taking part in criminal proceedings significantly increases the chances of suffering from re-victimisation and prolonged trauma, to which vulnerable victims are particularly susceptible. Victims of crime often have to go through stressful settings such as a medical examination, interview at a police station, or a testimony in a courtroom. Research has shown that dogs can reduce a person’s anxiety by promoting a safe feeling and providing contact-comfort, and therefore reduce the risk of secondary victimisation for the victims.
Based on the work of the Courthouse Dogs Foundation in the US, VSE is leading the first European project to train and deploy at least 5 dogs in Belgium, Italy and France to support vulnerable victims during criminal proceedings: FYDO – Facility Dogs in Europe. Facility Dogs (FYDO) are carefully selected and highly trained by specialist organisation and handled to support vulnerable victims in their recovery.
VSE’s team will be reinforced by FYDO experts internally and partnership will bring together all major FYDO initiatives in Europe:
Handi’Chiens (FR) is an association recognized as a public utility which educates and provides free assistance dogs to people with disabilities. Since its creation in 1989, more than 2,300 dogs have been handed over to children or adults in fragile situations. Handi’Chiens has trained the first Facility Dogs in the EU, LOL who is handled by the fire department of the Lot department in France.
Dogs4Life Onlus (IT) is a non-profit organization that was born with the aim of transforming and improving the lives of people with disabilities and allowing them to live independently and enjoy an exciting lifestyle with highly trained assistance dogs. Dog4Life will train 3 dogs to be deployed in shelters for women victims of domestic violence and victims aid centers.
Viaduq 67 (FR) is a non-profit association, member of the France Victimes network. Viaduq67 focuses its action on supporting victims, listening to them and supporting them in all their efforts. The support to victims is ensured by a multidisciplinary team made up of lawyers, psychologists, sociologists, mediators, specialized educators, etc. Viaduq67 is hosting the second Facility Dog in France, Orphée.
Canisha (BE) is a recognised association authorized by the Flemish government that trains assistance dogs and makes them available free of charge to people with disabilities. In this way Canisha wants to increase the autonomy, self-reliance and reintegration of people with a visible and non-visible disability. As part of the FYDO project Canisha and Hachiko will train a Facility Dog that will be handled by the Ghent police to assist victims in criminal proceedings.
Hachiko (BE) is the first Belgian association for the training of assistance dogs for people with a motor disability. Thanks to Hachiko, 125 assistance dogs in Flanders are available every day to help their owners. As part of the FYDO project Canisha and Hachiko will train a Facility Dog that will be handled by the Ghent police to assist victims in criminal proceedings.
The University College of Cork (IE) will conduct the research part of the FYDO project with the aim of evaluating the victims’ experience with the presence of a Facility Dog. The research will educate project partners initially and ultimately external stakeholders and the broader public about the benefits and impacts of facility dogs.
Objectives of the project:
- Develop and introduce a novelty training programme for FYDO dogs and handlers;
- Train 5 FYDO dogs and up to 10 handlers;
- Support at least 200 highly vulnerable victims;
- Raise awareness and disseminate results to inform stakeholders and general public;
- Advocate for the embedding of the service into the justice systems and extension of the service in project countries and in the rest of the EU.
Activities under the project:
- Training of trainers, handlers and dogs
- Placement of dogs into services (police station, victim support services, shelters for women victims of domestic violence, victims aid centers, …)
- DisseminationVSE would like to thank Elastik for their work on the FYDO logo and branding.
Project PREVICT – Promoting Rights of Victims in the EU
The level and quality of information that victims receive varies from one Member State to another. In some States there are some good examples of how best to raise awareness of the victims themselves, their support circles, and the public in general, and how to deliver information in a manner consistent with the requirements of the Directive. In some others, information for victims is scarce or when it exists, it is not accessible to victims either because victims’ specific needs (children, persons with disabilities etc.) or are simply not well disseminated (web sites that are hard to find through web search, insufficient quantity of printed materials etc.).
In order to make services available and accessible for victims of crime, VSE has been advocating for the development of research based information campaigns. This would include websites, leaflets, explainer videos and other materials which should be developed and placed in areas where victims are likely to be present as a result of crime – regardless of whether they have reported it.
In view of such reality the present project proposal aims to: (1) describe, based on research best practices in delivering information to victims; (2) identify what type of information is most pressing to be made available to victims in each participating country and develop innovative and creative information tools based on the research and target group consultations; (3) deliver an information campaign; and (4) measure its impact.
The partnership was carefully construed to optimise the work on the project and project results and impact. Victim Support Europe is the leading European umbrella organisation of victim support. Since its creation, almost 30 years ago, VSE has been the leader the development of victim-centred policies and has been a valued stakeholder during the negotiations and drafting of the Victims’ Rights Directive.
Transcendent Media Capital (TMC) is the European branch of an international media company, dedicated to creating sustainable and measurable impact through media, with whom VSE has already cooperated on a number of campaigns and with whom we have recently produced an award winning short film on the Right to be forgotten. TMC are the key partner who will develop impact measurement and campaign tools, as well as support national partners in the delivery of the campaign and impact measurement. Five remaining partners – Human Rights for Democracy Centre (AL), Bijeli krug (HR), Fehér Gyűrű (HU), Victim Support Malta (MT) and APAV (PT) are long standing VSE members, while VILIAS (LT) is on the path of becoming one, having been VSE’s reliable partner in the past several years.
The project partnership gives a good representation of countries in which victim support has a long tradition (PT and HU), countries in which generic victim support is recent (HR and MT) as well as countries in which generic nation- wide victim support is yet to be established (AL and LT). Moreover, with a representation of ‘old’ Member States (PT and MT), ‘new’ Member States (HR, HU and LT) and an aspiring Member State (AL), we believe we achieved a balance in representing different points of view and different traditions in the implementation of EU legislation.
The project directly responds to the Priority 2 of the call: Victims’ Rights. In particular, the project is aimed at better implementation of Article 4 of the Directive 2012/29/EU establishing minimum standards on the rights, support and protection of victims of crime (the Victims’ Rights Directive).
This priority will be addressed through providing tailored information to the estimated more than 4,5 million of victims of crimes in the six project countries (AL, HR, HU, LT, MT and PT) in an informed and inclusive manner. This will be ensured through a carefully designed methodology, which will ensure:
– responding to the actual information needs of victims in each of the project countries, which will be identified through research;
– delivering information to victims, law enforcement and victim support professionals, through tailored, inclusive and accessible tools, the content of which will be carefully developed by victim support professionals in each of the six countries;
– delivering the information by means of high quality information tools (videos, posters, infographics, brochures, websites, interactive maps) tools carefully designed and delivered by media professionals;
– launching a carefully designed media campaign, which will aim to reach the maximum number of victims in project countries;
– measuring impact of the campaign, through the innovative impact measurement methodology.
How does your project address the call priority under which you are applying? What is the project’s contribution in this area? What are the innovative aspects of the project?
– training project partners in impact measurement;
– continuity of the impact beyond the duration of the project, through further reproduction of information tools and extending impact measurement methodology across the VSE membership. The project will contribute towards:
– victims’ better information about their rights and the support they can claim and receive;
– better understanding of how to provide information to victims in an effective and inclusive manner;
– measuring the impact of information provision on victims of crimes.
The innovative aspects of the project are reflected in:
– development of information tools based on research and not just on a presumption that some forms of delivery are
good or convenient;
– information tools and campaigns are developed jointly by the partnership, but are tailored specifically for each country to respond to the existing cultural, geographical, legal or political environment in the country;
– impact measurement methodology is being developed specifically to measure impact of information on victims’ access to and enjoyment of their rights;
– impact is measured through the project to inform about the actual result of the tools and the campaign;
– impact measurement methodology is replicable and will be offered to VSE members through members’ training through our operating activities planning in 2021 or 2022, with view on also developing a training for trainers, to ensure cascade transmission of impact measurement knowledge throughout the broader VSE and our members’ networks.
Project Counter@ct – Preventing and Combating Online Radicalisation
Radical messages are rapidly spreading through the Internet targeting vulnerable groups, particularly young people aged 16 to 25, posing security threats across the EU. Counter@ct’s core objective is to promote behavioural change, dissuading such groups from adhering to radicalising/terrorist content online and/or using violence, by providing them with counter narratives. These narratives will use successful stories of disengagement by vulnerable groups from radical ideas. We expect to provide tools to address these groups via an online counter-narrative campaign and its impact assessment.
Four work packages were set, as well as a management concept stemming from complimentary levels of expertise/roles. It will start by studying how these vulnerable groups interact online, including motivation rationales, triggers and key-influencers. The desk research allows for the definition of an effective communication strategy that will be the basis of a counter-narrative online campaign and a set of indicators to outline the impact assessment plan.
There will be 6 awareness raising sessions (240 participants), targeting youngsters within vulnerable groups and two training courses (40 participants) to campaign managers, in PT and ES. A Practical Guide to Prevent and Combat Online Radicalisation and Extremism will be created (in PT/EN/ES) with chapters on: how to implement an online counter-narrative campaign and its underlying communication strategy; how to develop indicators and an impact assessment methodology; how can campaign managers deal with its impacts; how to develop awareness raising and training session; how to improve multi-stakeholder cooperation to prevent and combat online radicalisation. A final conference, gathering multi-stakeholder experts will be held in Portugal to present the projects deliverables and results, as well as to promote a public debate on preventing and fighting radicalisation/terrorism, strengthening long-lasting cooperation.
EU Centre of Expertise for Victims of Terrorism
Fighting terrorism is a top priority for the EU and its Member States as well as its international partners. In the past years, terrorism continued to constitute a major threat to security in EU Member States. In response to the requests of the Justice and Home Affairs Council in June 2018 and of the European Parliament in December 2018, the Commission proposed to establish the EU Centre of Expertise for Victims of Terrorism.
This pilot project will provide concrete and practical actions which will have a positive impact on victims of terrorism. In particular, the EU Centre will produce guidelines and training for practitioners, information for victims and it will develop networks of experts at the national level to support knowledge exchange and more effective responses across borders.
Victim Support Europe is developing the EU Centre of Expertise for Victims of Terrorism, in partnership with the Association française des Victimes du Terrorisme, the Fondation Lenval and ARQ National Psychotrauma Centre. The Centre will closely cooperate with the European Network on Victims’ Rights.
Training and handbooks
The EU Centre is preparing a training programme for national staff of authorities and NGOs in the Member States. The trainings focus on practical, legal and psychological issues related to victims of terrorism. These trainings will be accompanied by handbooks that provide information on the rights, needs and support of victims of terrorism.
Hub of expertise
Through the EU Centre, expertise will be available for authorities and NGOs in Member States. The EU Centre will build a database of experts in different fields like:
- the development of laws and policies for victims of terrorism
- the preparation for terrorist attacks and the responses after such an attack
- psychotrauma and legal support for victims of terrorism
The database will contain contacts of researchers, clinicians and policy makers available to complement the national assistance to victims.
Fighting Crime and TerroRism with an IoT-enabled Autonomous Platform based on an Ecosystem of Advanced IntelligEnce, Operations, and InveStigation Technologies
CREST aims to equip LEAs with an IoT-enabled ecosystem of advanced intelligence, operations, and investigation technologies for their fight against crime and terrorism CREST main objectives:
– Stream sensing and monitoring from IoT-enabled sensors and the Web; – Multimodal information extraction, representation, analysis, correlation, retrieval, and delivery;
– Distributed command and control of law enforcement missions and information sharing;
– CREST platform based on ethics and privacy by-design principles, implementing EU legal requirements, whilst being highly customisable to local legislations.
More info on: https://project-crest.eu/
Initiation of a Multidisciplinary Unit for Victims of Hate Crime/Speech
The main aim of this project is to increase awareness on hate crimes and hate speech and reduce the number of victims that suffer from such irresponsible actions. More specifically, this project aims to raise awareness among victims and the general public to report hate crimes and hate speech and have access to several services under one roof provided by more professional and trained personnel.
The objectives include:
✓ To strengthen multi-sectoral and multidisciplinary cooperation, enabling relevant professionals to collaborate and respond to hate crime and hate speech effectively;
✓ To develop and implement training programmes between professionals from various sectors who come into contact with potential victims, thus ascertaining an upgrade in the quality of services;
✓ To raise awareness and encourage victims and potential victims, witnesses and bystanders to report hate/speech crime;
✓ To train the trainer for a wider multiplier effect;
✓ To exchange best practices within the European Union (EU).
Victim Support Europe’s role in the project:
WORK PACKAGE 5 ‘Training and Data Gathering’
Training given to police officers and front-liners will better equip the persons working at the Multidisciplinary Unit, thus rendering a better service for all victims of hate crime/speech that make use of this service. The specific objectives of this measure include:
• Training programs for police officers in order to have a clear-cut structure of identifying bias indicators, coordinated by the multidisciplinary unit
• Establishing an efficient reporting system
• The introduction of a mechanism that disaggregates data on hate crime incidents is necessary in order to monitor the effectiveness of the criminal justice system
• Enhancing cooperation within civil society organisations relating to the recording of hate crime data
Innovative aspects of this project
The proposed project is innovative, as although Malta ranks high on the Eurobarometer in relation to hate crime/speech, there is not a legislative system is in place and there is no official structure that focuses on victims of hate crime/speech, by offering all the services required by victims and their family members. For this reason, the project will establish the creation of a new entity that will specifically focus on victims of hate speech/crime and will strengthen other national government departments to address in a better manner hate crime/hate speech. This pilot project will also start the important process of data collation, which to date is not being catered for in Malta. The project has been designed on the success stories of other EU member states and the good practices will be shared with other EU Member States.
The expected results of this project are fivefold
1. A functioning Multidisciplinary ‘one stop shop’ offering a vast range of services to victims of Hate Crime/Speech;
2. Trained professionals ready to support victims and potential victims and work with other professionals from other sectors and disciplines;
3. Increasing reporting and referrals across sectors and disciplines;
4. Introducing a bias indicator system to identify Hate Crime/Speech;
5. Introducing a specific system for the Malta Police Force to record Hate Crime.
Promoting cyberjustice in Spain through change management and improvement of data collection
The project aims at producing the report “Building up the IT capacities to foster the system of support and protection of victims of crime in Spain”, with a due regard to the communications and conclusions of the workshop “Promoting cyber justice in Spain through change management and improvement of data collection” held on 17 October 2019 in Madrid, Spain. The participation of experts appointed by Victim Support Europe in the drafting of the report, according to the agreed table of contents:
- 15 fee units for the contribution of experts representing different EU Member States with advanced experience in the area of victim support and related case management;
- 9 fee units for contributions to the draft report and reviewing of experts’ inputs by the VSE team.
INclusive Holistic care for REfugee and migrant victims of sexual violence in Belgium, Sweden and UK
With a consortium composing of Ghent University-ICRH/CESSMIR (BE), the Belgian Federal Service of Public Health (BE), Payoke (BE), Victim Support Europe (EU), NHS The Havens (UK) and the Swedish Police Authority (SE), that is supported by international experts from a.o. EFPA, PICUM, CESAR and IEWM, this project aims to improve holistic care for MAR victims of SV, regardless of their age, gender, sexual orientation and/or legal status by strengthening the capacity of multi-sector professionals.
‘Best Practices in Victims’ Support: Referrals, Information, Individual Assessment: VICToRIIA’
The major objectives of the Project are twofold: to ensure that victims of crime in Lithuania, Romania, Italy and Portugal have access to and are offered tailored victim support services suited to their needs and that the results of the Project will be available and transferrable to situations across Europe.
The Project will achieve its objectives through four core aims:
a) developing an individual assessment process to determine the support needs of victims;
b) strengthening partnerships between support organisations and between those organisations and the police;
c) developing referral mechanisms, founded on secure communication channels, which can be used between support organisations and/or between the police and those organisations;
d) establishing an information package for victims on their rights, the impact of victimisation and on the victim services which exist in the States of the partner organisations.
The overall aim of this project is to help ensure that the rights established in the Victims Directive are operating in practice. It will achieve this by assisting the EU Commission in its own assessment of implementation as well as providing national stakeholders with evidence of the state of implementation in their own countries.Read More
Victim support services in Serbia
The ultimate objective of the project is to assist the Serbian Government, as part of its accession process, to develop a national system of victim support services which comply with EU Directive 2012/29 EU.Read More
Capacity building for EU crime victim support
Project CABVIS aims to overcome the many difficulties arising from the non-harmonisation of EU member States’ victim support services and legal implementation of EU measures. The whole project provides those who directly deal with victims (i.e. police officers, judicial practitioners and victim support workers) with the tools and sensitivity to better deal with them.
Protection and effective access to justice of crime victims in the European Union
This project, which took place from 2013 to 2014, provided in-depth training for legal practitioners on EU law on victims of crime. It covered both pre-Lisbon and post-Lisbon instruments, following closely the development of the legislative process at EU level as well as national transposition in the Member States.Read More
This project, which ran from 2011 to 2013 focused on improving access to information for victims in Portugal, Sweden, Czech Republic and Austria.Read More
Victims in Europe
This project which ran from 2007 to 2009, assessed the implementation of the Framework-Decision of March 15th, 2011 on the standing of victims in legal proceedings from the European Council, in each of the 27 Member-States of the European Union.Read More
Implementing Victim-Oriented Reform of the criminal justice system in the European Union
This project, which runs from 2014 to 2016, will analyse and present victim assistance models in the EU Member States. It will examine the coherence (internal and external) of victim support models and identify gaps in the implementation of victims’ rights.Read More