Since 2015, VSE has increasingly developed specialist knowledge in the field of victims of terrorism. Starting with our support for France Victimes, after the Paris attacks in 2015, VSE carries out a range of activities to ensure that policies, laws and services at the national, European and international level meet the needs of victims of terrorism.  

In 2020, the European Commission set up the EU Centre of Expertise for Victims of Terrorism (the EUCVT) to ensure that the EU rules on victims of terrorism are correctly applied. The EUCVT is set up and run by the European Commission with the support of a consortium of victim support associations led by Victim Support Europe.

 

Know your rights

The rights of victims of terrorism are described in the EU Directive 2017/541 on combating terrorism.  These rights build on EU Directive 2012/29/EU on establishing minimum standards on the rights, support and protection of victims of crime.

Provision of support

Support has to be:

  • Delivered by specialised services addressing specific needs of victims of terrorism – in addition to or as part of victim support services;
  • Confidential, free of charge and easily accessible to all victims of terrorism;
  • Available immediately after an attack and for as long as necessary afterwards.

The support shall include in particular:

  • Emotional and psychological support, such as trauma support and counselling;
  • Provision of advice and information on any relevant legal, practical or financial matters and in line with the Victims’ Rights Directive;
  • Assistance with claims regarding compensation.

Justice

  • Investigations and prosecution of offences are not dependent on a report or accusation made by a victim of terrorism.
  • Access to legal aid has to be in accordance with Directive 2012/29/EU, where victims have the status of parties to criminal proceedings.
  • Measures are available to protect victims of terrorism and their family members, in accordance with Directive 2012/29/EU. Particular attention shall be paid to the risk of intimidation and retaliation and to the need to protect the dignity and physical integrity of victims of terrorism, including during questioning and when testifying.

Medical treatment

  • Adequate medical treatment is provided to victims of terrorism immediately after a terrorist attack and for as long as necessary.

Rights across borders

These rights are relevant for victims of terrorism who are resident in an EU country other than where the attack took place:

  • Access to information regarding their rights, the available support services and compensation schemes in the Member State where the terrorist offence was committed.
  • Member States should facilitate cooperation between their competent authorities or entities providing specialist support to ensure the effective access of victims of terrorism to such information.
  • Member States shall ensure that all victims of terrorism have access to the assistance and support services on the territory of the Member State of their residence, even if the terrorist offence was committed in another Member State.

What to do if there is a terrorist attack near you?

The French government provides practical instructions in a video (in French with English subtitls), based on the keyworkds: escape, hide, alert.

Here are some tips on what to do if there is a terrorist attack near you (source: World Nomads):

  • Stay within the confines of your residence or accommodation
  • Do not go out into the public streets
  • Be alert to local news developments
  • Adhere to any imposed security restrictions
  • If you are in a building located close to the site of a terrorist attack, stay away from the windows
  • If in the vicinity of an attack, do not stay to watch what is happening, as you will only get in the way of the emergency services. There is also a risk that additional attacks may occur
  • Make a mental note of safe havens, such as police stations and hospitals

Here are some tips on what to do if there’s a bomb blast (source: World Nomads):

  • Leave the area as soon as possible
  • Do not run – you may be suspected as the bomber. If you are in a crowd, stay at the fringes
  • Stay clear of glass shop fronts
  • If you are injured, attend to yourself before other
  • Obey all instructions and orders that are given by local police
  • Listen to television and radio reports
  • Contact family or friends and let them know about your situation

Find help in your country

Member States provide for information on support available for victims of a terrorist attack through government websites, websites of NGOs, through helplines and social media.

After a terrorist attack, VSE will collect relevant information for victims and publish it on our website.

If you have been affected by terrorism, there are a number of ways you can contact support services to get assistance or information:

If you are a professional who is looking for information on specific terrorist attacks please contact the EUCVT (eucvt@victimsupporteurope.eu)

Resources

The European Commission set up the EU Centre of expertise for victims of terrorism (the EUCVT) in January 2020 to offer expertise, guidance and support to national authorities and victim support organisations. The EUCVT helps to ensure that the EU rules on victims of terrorism are correctly applied. It promotes exchange of best practices and sharing of expertise among the practitioners and specialists across borders. It does not provide direct help and assistance to particular victims of terrorism, but it helps to ensure that national structures offer professional assistance and support to victims of terrorism in every EU country. The EUCVT is set up and run by the European Commission with the support of a consortium of victim support associations led by Victim Support Europe. The consortium carries out the tasks of the EU Centre on behalf of the Commission and acts in a partnership with the Association française des Victimes du Terrorisme, the Fondation Lenval and ARQ National Psychotrauma Centre.

 

Information on previous terrorist attacks

After a terrorist attack, VSE collects important information for victims and publishes them below.

Utrecht shooting (18 March 2019)

On the morning of 18 March 2019, three people were killed and five others hospitalised after a shooting on a tram in Utrecht, Netherlands. Local police described the incident as “appearing to be” a terrorist attack. Law enforcement was quick to respond and effectively locked down the city in the hours after the shooting. Around 6:00 p.m. (local time) the suspected shooter was arrested about 2 miles (3 km) from the location of the shooting, ending the emergency measures.

See the Utrecht Municipality website for up-to-date information on where to get help and support if you have been affected by this attack.

If you need further information or want to contact Victim Support services in your country:

If you are a professional who is looking for information on this terrorist attack, please contact the EUCVT (eucvt@victimsupporteurope.eu)

Christchurch mosque shootings (15 March 2019)

The Christchurch mosque shootings were two consecutive terrorist mass shootings at the Al Noor Mosque and the Linwood Islamic Centre in Christchurch, New Zealand, during Friday Prayer on 15 March 2019. The attacks began at the Al Noor Mosque in the suburb of Riccarton at 1:40 pm, and continued at the Linwood Islamic Centre at about 1:55 pm.

The attacks killed 50 people and injured 50 more. A 28-year-old Australian man, described in media reports as a white supremacist and part of the “alt-right”, was arrested and charged with murder. The attacks have been linked to an increase in white supremacism and alt-right extremism globally observed since the mid-2010s.

If you were present during the attack and are looking for more information on help and support, please visit New Zealand’s Government webpage, where you will find relevant links and information.

You can find more information on compensation here, and on coping after a traumatic event here.

If you need further information or want to contact Victim Support services in your country:

If you are a professional who is looking for information on this terrorist attack, please contact the EUCVT (eucvt@victimsupporteurope.eu)

Las Vegas Route 91 Harvest Festival shooting (1 October 2017)

On 1st of October 2017, Las Vegas (United States) was struck by a deadly attack. A gunman opened fire on a crowd of concertgoers at the Route 91 Harvest music festival on the Las Vegas Strip in Nevada, leaving 58 people dead and 851 injured.

The FBI is assisting the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department in responding to and investigating the shooting at the Harvest Music Festival in Las Vegas, Nevada on October 1, 2017. Find more information.

The Vegas Strong Resiliency Center is offering information and transitional support to the victims who have been affected by the attack. Please find more information here.

If you were a victim of this attack and live in the US, the Give an Hour organization will be offering victims support and help for the victims of the Route 91 Harvest Festival shooting, starting in late September 2020, under the SoCalRoute91 programme. The support services will notably include support groups, an online trauma resource library and referrals for mental health services.

If you need further information or want to contact Victim Support services in your country:

If you are a professional who is looking for information on this terrorist attack, please contact the EUCVT (eucvt@victimsupporteurope.eu)

Barcelona and Cambrils attacks (17 August 2017)

On the afternoon of 17 August 2017, 22-year-old Younes Abouyaaqoub drove a van into pedestrians on La Rambla in Barcelona, Spain, killing 13 people and injuring at least 130 others, one of whom died 10 days later on 27 August. Abouyaaqoub fled the attack on foot, then killed another person in order to steal the victim’s car to make his escape.

Nine hours after the Barcelona attack, five men thought to be members of the same terrorist cell drove into pedestrians in nearby Cambrils, killing one woman and injuring six others. All five attackers were shot and killed by police.

The Victim Assistance Offices offer assistance and information for victims across Spain. To find the nearest Victim Assistance Office for Violent crimes you can contact, please visit Oficinas de Asistencia a las Víctimas de delitos violentos.

More information on victims’ rights and compensation for victims of terrorism are available on the Spanish Ministry of the Interior website.

If you need further information or want to contact Victim Support services in your country:

If you are a professional who is looking for information on this terrorist attack, please contact the EUCVT (eucvt@victimsupporteurope.eu)

London’s Finsbury Park attack (19 June 2017)

On 19 June 2017, London was struck by an attack when a van ploughed into crowd outside Muslim Welfare House, Finsbury Park Mosque, leaving one person dead and 10 injured.

The UK Government information portal on Support Victims of Terrorism provides information on support services and advice for victims of terrorism, including on medical treatments, mental health support and compensation claims.

TELL MAMA also supports victims, specifically victims of anti-Muslim hate and is a public service which also measures and monitors anti-Muslim incidents.

If you need further information or want to contact Victim Support services in your country:

If you are a professional who is looking for information on this terrorist attack, please contact the EUCVT (eucvt@victimsupporteurope.eu)

London Bridge attack (3 June 2017)

London was struck by a terrorist attack on June 3, 2017. The attackers deliberately drove a van into pedestrian walking on London bridge, before crashing into the River Thames. Eight people were killed and 48 were injured, including four unarmed police officers who attempted to stop the assailants. The three attackers, who wore fake explosive vests, were later shot dead by police.

The UK Government information portal on Support Victims of Terrorism provides information on support services and advice for victims of terrorism, including on medical treatments, mental health support and compensation claims.

If you need further information or want to contact Victim Support services in your country:

If you are a professional who is looking for information on this terrorist attack, please contact the EUCVT (eucvt@victimsupporteurope.eu)

Manchester Arena attack (22 May 2017)

On 22 May 2017, a bomb was detonated as people were leaving Manchester Arena following a concert by the American singer Ariana Grande. Twenty-three people were killed, including the attacker, and over 500 were injured.

The UK Government information portal on Support Victims of Terrorism provides information on support services and advice for victims of terrorism, including on medical treatments, mental health support and compensation claims.

If you need further information or want to contact Victim Support services in your country:

If you are a professional who is looking for information on this terrorist attack, please contact the EUCVT (eucvt@victimsupporteurope.eu)

Stockholm attack (7 April 2017)

On 7th of April, an attack took place in the centre of Stockholm Sweden, where a truck crashed into a crowd, in the main pedestrian street, killing five people and injuring 15. The attacker was arrested hours later in a northern suburb of Stockholm.

People who were victimized or affected by the attack can find information on victims’ rights and support in Sweden, on the Swedish Crime Compensation and Support Authority website.

Stockholm has opened an information platform where the public can turn to if they are worried and want someone to talk to after what happened. You can find information on their website or visit them at Hantverkargatan 3.

Children were particularly affected by this attack. Advice on how to talk to children and teenagers about tragedies and other events are available on Healthy Children. The Swedish organization Bris also offers online and phone support services to teenagers and children who want to discuss about a traumatic event.

If you need further information or want to contact Victim Support services in your country:

If you are a professional who is looking for information on this terrorist attack, please contact the EUCVT (eucvt@victimsupporteurope.eu)

Saint Petersburg metro attack (3 April 2017)

On the 3rd of April 2017, Saint Petersburg was struck by a deadly suicide bombing attack. As the bomb, contained in a briefcase, exploded in the metro, the explosion took the lives of fifteen people (including the perpetrator’s) and left many dozens wounded.

VSE member organisation in Russia Victim Support Foundation (VSF Russia) provides information on where victims can get information and support in Russia.

If you need further information or want to contact Victim Support services in your country:

If you are a professional who is looking for information on this terrorist attack, please contact the EUCVT (eucvt@victimsupporteurope.eu)

Berlin Christmas Market attack (19 December 2016)

On 19 December 2016, a 40-ton truck was hijacked and crashed into the crowd attending the Breitzschiedplatz Christmas market in Berlin, killing 12 people and injuring around 100 others.

If you were a victim of the attack, you can get more information on where to find help, support and information by downloading the guidelines on ‘Where to get help if becoming victim of a terror attack in Germany?. This document was developed by VSE member organization Weisser Ring to support victims in getting the necessary information.

For more information on where to get help in your region after a terrorist attack, please consult the Federal Ministry of Justice handbook on Hilfe nach einem Terroranschlag.

If you need further information or want to contact Victim Support services in your country:

If you are a professional who is looking for information on this terrorist attack, please contact the EUCVT (eucvt@victimsupporteurope.eu)

Nice attack (14 July 2016)

On the evening of 14 July 2016, a 19 tonne cargo truck was deliberately driven into crowds of people celebrating Bastille Day on the Promenade des Anglais in Nice, France, resulting in the deaths of 86 people and the injury of 458 others. The attack ended following an exchange of gunfire, during which the driver was shot and killed by police.

You can find more information on where to find help, information and support on the Guichet unique d’information et de déclaration pour les victimes.

More information on compensation can be found on the Fonds de Garantie des Victimes website.

If you live in Nice and are looking for help, the support center for the attack is located at the following address: Maison d’accueil des victimes, 6 rue Gubernatis, 0600, Nice.

If you need further information or want to contact Victim Support services in your country:

If you are a professional who is looking for information on this terrorist attack, please contact the EUCVT (eucvt@victimsupporteurope.eu)

Brussels attacks (22 March 2016)

On the morning of 22 March 2016, three coordinated suicide bombings occurred in Belgium: two at Brussels Airport in Zaventem, and one at Maalbeek metro station in central Brussels. Thirty-two civilians and three perpetrators were killed, and more than 300 people were injured. Another bomb was found during a search of the airport. The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) claimed responsibility for the attacks.

A single point of contact has been established for the victims of the attacks. If you were or know a victim of the attack, you can get more information on where to find help, support and information on the Ministry of Justice information portal.

The Flemish general welfare centers (CAW) have also organized service to victims. Please visit their website to find more information.

If you have any questions about the threat level, consult the website of the Crisis Centre, its Facebook and Twitter accounts.

If you need further information or want to contact Victim Support services in your country:

If you are a professional who is looking for information on this terrorist attack, please contact the EUCVT (eucvt@victimsupporteurope.eu)

Paris attacks (13 November 2015)

On the night of 13th November 2015, concerted terrorist attacks hit a major stadium, restaurants and bars, and the Bataclan concert hall. Suicide bombers and gunmen left 130 persons killed and hundreds injured.

You can find more information on where to find help, information and support on the Guichet unique d’information et de déclaration pour les victimes.

More information on compensation can be found on the Fonds de Garantie des Victimes website.

If you need further information or want to contact Victim Support services in your country:

If you are a professional who is looking for information on this terrorist attack, please contact the EUCVT (eucvt@victimsupporteurope.eu)