Support for victims and witnesses in Republic of Croatia is organised within the justice system on two levels:
1. Ministry of Justice, 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:
Ohvriabi strengths are their rehabilitation programmes for victims, their families and prisoners/ex-prisoners. Support services are also available for witnesses, friends, partners and colleagues The Organisation bases its work on Restorative Justice and on the perspective that the offender might also be a victim.
Psychological, social and emotional support are available, as well information on victims’ rights and, when needed, shelter for victims. Victims often contact Ohvriabi through their hotline (Estonian and Russian), e-mail or letter, but they may also opt to contact through social networks, face-to-face or rehabilitation programmes. Ohvriabi also offers support to specific groups of victims such as children, young and elderly people and victims of hate crimes.
Pomoc obetiam násilia (Victim Support Slovakia, VSS) is non-profit organisation that provides psychological, social, practical and legal support to victims of crimes of any kind since 1999.
VSS Slovakia was formalised into an organisation as a result of activities aimed on services for victims that began in 1996. In 1997 the first counselling centre of a kind opened in Slovakia in 1997 at the Senior Top Centre ASE. It rendered charge-free services to victims through pro bono assistance by a wide range of professionals, particularly psychologists, lawyers and social workers.
Constitution of VSS Slovakia as non/profit and non/governmental organisation facilitated further professionalisation of services provided. VSS implemented a number of projects funded by the EU and other donors. VSS is also an active advocate in policy making in Slovakia, setting legislative rules on victim support. VSS is also committed to raising awareness among lay as well as professional public about victim rights and support network. The public education work entails cooperation with the media, universities, police academies and other bodies.
VSS Slovakia currently runs 5 regional branches and 24/7 Helpline (0850 111 321). As of now, VSS is the only organisation in Slovakia supporting victims of any crime without exception.
Rikosuhripaivystys Suomessa provides support to victims and witnesses of crime, their family members, friends, partners, husband/wives, colleagues as well as to civil servants or other professionals who might get in contact with victims. The support is available through telephone, face-to-face or e-support (social media) (all services are available in finish; often in English and Swedish and, if needed, translation is used).
Rikosuhripaivystys Suomessa has support services to specific groups of victims: children, young and elderly people, persons with disabilities, immigrant and transnational/cross border.
A victim may find in Rikosuhripaivystys Suomessa different types of support, namely: practical, legal, emotional, assistance to apply for compensation, information on victims’ rights and information about the national criminal justice system. Usually victims get in contact with the organisation through the hotline, e-mail, police referral or going personally to a local scheme (mainly when appointment is planned).
Slachtofferhulp Nederland’s specific strength is the fact that their work of assisting victims is assured by volunteers (when possible) or paid staff (when necessary). The Organisation contacts victims within 2 working days after the crime has taken place or faster (sometimes immediately after the crime) when necessary. Accordingly, there are no waiting lists for victims who need help.
Slachtofferhulp Nederland provides support to victims and witnesses of crime and to relatives of victims of homicide. There is also support available to specific groups of victims, namely: children, young and elderly people, persons with disabilities, immigrant, transnational/cross-border and hate crime victims.
A victim may find practical, legal, social and emotional support, as well as assistance to apply for compensation, information on victims’ rights and on the national criminal justice system. Usually victims contact Slachtofferhulp Nederland through their hotline (service available in Dutch) or by referral form the police (electronic data), social workers and general practitioners. Support to victims is given through telephone (in Dutch), face-to-face (in Dutch and, if necessary, an interpreter is called), e-mail (Dutch and English) and through e-support (in Dutch).
Steunpunt Algemeen Welzijnswerk provides support to victims and witnesses of crime, as well as to their families, children, partners, husband/wives and colleagues. In Steunpunt Algemeen you may find practical, emotional, psychological, legal and social support. The Organisation also provides information on victims’ rights, on the national criminal justice system and assistance to apply for compensation.
A victim may contact Steunpunt Algemeen through telephone, letter, e-mail, social networks or go personally to a local scheme. The Organisation provides support to specific groups of victims, such as: children and young people; elderly people; persons with disabilities; immigrant victims; transnational/cross-border victims and victims of hate crimes.
The unique strengths of Steunpunt Algemeen are the combination of emotional, practical and legal information and support provided. The larger organization (CAW) is easily accessible for any type of question at any time and has a holistic approach covering all areas of life.
Supporting Justice is a Community Interest Company; we work mainly in the criminal justice arena specialising in issues affecting victims and witnesses and are currently working closely with the large UK charity Citizens Advice on the redesign of their Witness Service service, the development of internal and externally facing policy and procedures, and the design and delivery of training for their almost 2,500 volunteers delivering the service in all criminal courts in England and Wales. Supporting Justice has a simple and clear vision: to help make the justice and social sectors work more effectively for everyone. We offer guidance and advice to help achieve the best outcomes for those affected by crime and we believe that unless people understand how and why things are as they are, and unless a deep and strong focus on outcomes is developed and maintained, the criminal justice system will never deliver what it promises: transparency, fairness and justice.