Our Work for victims
We promote the development and improvement of victim support services through:
- Research and Monitoring
- Co-Ordination of services
- Capacity building and Training
VSE works regularly with European and International Institutions to influence EU and international laws and policies on victims’ rights. We have formal consultative status with the UN’s ECOSOC Committee and work closely with the European Commission, the European Parliament and various EU Agencies such as the Fundamental Rights Agency.
We inform organisations about future policy needs, gaps in rights and implementation etc through consultation replies, bilateral meetings, attendance of expert groups and conferences. VSE is regularly invited to speak at conferences and seminars to share our expertise on on victims’ rights and victim support.
Our Research and Monitoring
VSE monitors the implementation of EU legislation to ensure that the rights established for victims are put into practice. Through our network of members and experts, through workshops and conferences and through meetings with governments, we gather information on laws and policies in place or planned. We provide advice to members on the compliance of national laws with EU laws and inform EU institutions of any concerns or best practices. We are aiming from 2016 to establish yearly national reports on the state of implementation of victims’ rights in the EU Member States.
We are also looking to increase our capacity to assess the situation in other European countries and monitor their compliance with international obligations.
VSE works with civil society organisations to facilitate co-ordination of policies and services between all actors working with victims. We are also encouraging co-operation between organisations at the national level – whether between different state actors such as police, prosecutors, welfare services, or between the State and civil society. This is essential to getting it right for victims.
We also work to help co-ordinate victim support across borders. Where a victim support organisation is assisting a foreign victim, we help them find the right contacts in the victims country, we provide information on national systems and laws if needed and we are developing broader cross-border co-ordination mechanisms to assist for example in cases of large scale terrorist attacks.
Our Capacity Building and Training
VSE is working with its members and with organisations and individuals around Europe to continue developing victims’ policies and laws.
We are also working to establish new national support services in European Countries which don’t yet have them. We are co-operating with both NGOs and governments to help them develop effective services for victims.
Knowledge and expertise is crucial to deliver effective services for victims. That’s why VSE carries out a range of conferences, workshops and training events for members and practitioners. Through a range of social media such as twitter, facebook, pinterest and youtube and through our internal publications database we are also spread knowledge of new developments, research and publications.
Since its foundation VSE works to actively stimulate further establishment of the rights for victims of crime. Accordingly, VSE has produced and published important documents all over the past 24 years, namely:
- Statement of Victims’ Rights in the Process of Criminal Justice (1996, 1997);
- Statement of the Social Rights of Victims of Crime (1998);
- Statement of Victims’ Rights to Standards of Service (1999);
- Victims’ Rights in the Mediation Process (2003);
- Manifesto for Europe (2008);
- Strategy 2012-2015 ;
- Training Manual – Victims of Crime in the EU (2012)
- Handbook 116006 – For a good implementation of the 116006 helpline (2012)
- Handbook for Implementation of legislation and Best Practice for Victims of Crime in Europe (2013);
- Manifesto 2014-2019
Throughout its history Victim Support Europe, being a European network of victim support organisations, had the opportunity to develop and conduct many projects with partnerships all over Europe.
In 2009/2010, on behalf of VSE, the Portuguese Association for Victim Support (APAV) managed and conducted the Project Victims in Europe, researching the implementation in all EU Member States of the 2001 Framework Decision on the Standing of Victims in Criminal Proceedings. The research covered the implementation both in relation to legislation and practical implication/possibility for victims to access the rights.
The last years have been very exciting for Victim Support Europe (VSE) and provided many new opportunities to advance the European victim agenda to highlight and strengthen the promotion and protection of victims’ rights.
From 2010 onwards Victim Support Europe worked closely with the European Commission, European Parliament and other EU agencies on the development of the EU directive establishing minimum standards on the rights, support and protection of victims of crime. VSE engagements involved highlighting victims’ needs and priorities in the afterwards of crime, as well as providing expert input regarding the scope and practical implementation of the rights included in the EU Directive.
We for instance advocated for:
- a range of support services needed by victims in the aftermath (including clarifying that services should be confidential and free of charge);
- a demand on Member States to facilitate referrals of victims from the police to victim support organisations;
- individual assessment of every victim’s needs and clarification of whether or not the victim needs particular rights and protection;
- a range of protective measures;
- extension of the right of information to include both generic and ongoing specific information.