On 29th of September Victim Support Europe (VSE) invited international NGO networks and institutions dealing with victims’ rights and support to participate in a roundtable discussion hosted by the European Commission Directorate-General for Justice.
The event was attended by 17 organisations including ILGA Europe, End FGM European Network, AGE-Platform, PICUM, Inclusion Europe, Women Against Violence Europe, European Network Against Racism, Transgender Europe, European Disability Forum, Amber Alert, Missing Children Europe, European Forum for Restorative Justice, Intervict, Child Helpline International, Confederation of European Probation, FRA and the European Commission Directorate-General for Justice.
Katarzyna Janicka-Pawlowska of the European Commission Directorate-General for Justice welcomed everyone to the roundtable and stressed the importance of the role of international NGOs in the implementation process of the Victims’ Directive. She underlined that
the European Commission value the input of the specialized organisations that can provide grassroots information on the implementation process for their particular field.
Helgard van Hüllen, Vice President of Victim Support Europe, led the meeting and welcomed the opportunity for the represented organisations to get to know each other, exchange ideas, and discuss areas of cooperation.
All representatives were invited to introduce their organisation, their priorities and concerns relating to victims within their field as well as their current activities and their plans for 2015 / 2016 in relation to victims’ rights. These short presentations showed the importance of victims’ rights and support for the specific groups of victims of crime represented by the different organisations.
For many organisations the Victims’ directive is very important and provides hooks to link their work to. Four themes were identified as common denominators after the presentations of all the organisations namely:
- Cross-Border Victimisation and Collaboration
- Monitoring and Data Collection
A vivid and productive discussion showed important opportunities for cooperation and exchange between the different organisations. All participants agreed that Victim Support Europe in particular could facilitate this collaboration through the organisation of a similar roundtable meeting on a regular basis. The discussed issues like funding, monitoring, cross-border victimisation and training could be addressed in specific meetings with organisations who are interested. There was a large interest to sit together and share tools developed to support qualitative monitoring, support and collaborations in the best interest of all victims.
VSE also invited the international NGOs to sign a petition that calls upon governments to act to implement the victims’ rights directive ensuring rights, support and protection of all victims.
The participants agreed that, while acknowledging that it is not often done, bringing international NGO networks together on victims’ issues is fruitful and very positive. They expressed their hope to work together on the victims’ directive and victim support in general over the coming years.