On 19th and 20th of October APAV hosted a Victim Support Europe meeting on European Helplines. During the meeting Victim Support Europe Members running a free helpline for victims of crime discussed their work with the 116006 European Helpline. Weisser Ring (Germany), Weisser Ring (Austria), Croatian Victim and Witness Support Service (Croatia), Crime Victims Helpline (Ireland), Bílý Kruh Bezpečí (Czech Republic), Offerrådgivningen i Danmark (Denmark), Rikosuhripäivystys (RIKU, Finland) and the Portuguese Association for Victim Support (APAV, Portugal) were all present.
The use of a harmonised European victim support helpline 116 006, short and easy to memorise, allows victims moving around, either victimised while travelling or still suffering consequences of a crime committed in another Member State, to use the same number and reach the same type of service. The establishment of a 116 0006 number is also aligned with the idea of common standards on the rights of victims of crime within the EU, as it enables the provision of emotional support, of information about rights and how to use them, while also referring victims to the relevant organisations.
Victim Support Europe is delighted to say that there are currently 10 victim support organisations (VSOs) operating the 116 006 in their Member State – Weisser Ring (Germany), Weisser Ring (Austria), Croatian Victim and Witness Support Service (Croatia), Crime Victims Helpline (Ireland), Slachtofferhulp Nederland (The Netherlands), Bílý Kruh Bezpečí (Czech Republic), Offerrådgivningen i Danmark (Denmark), Rikosuhripäivystys (RIKU, Finland) and the Portuguese Association for Victim Support (APAV, Portugal), Juridiskās palīdzības administrācija (Latvia). Victim Support Organisations have come a long way in their efforts of implementing such an important service for victims and it is of utmost value that they can learn from each other’s experience.
During the workshop both technical, organisational and policy issues around the 116006 helplines were discussed and experiences shared. The meeting proved to be very interesting and useful for most participants. It moreover allowed for an in-depth discussion of commonalities and differences in the ways 116006 helplines are run. The participants discussed the way forward and common recommendations and goals.