Annual General Meeting:
Victim Support Europe arranges an Annual General Meeting (AGM), which is often preceded by a two-day annual conference. The preparation of the conference and AGM is overseen by the Executive Board. At the AGM, Victim Support Europe’s members are informed about the activities undertaken during the past year. They are also consulted and able to influence future activities of the organisation.

The AGM is also responsible for electing Executive Board members.


  • João Lázaro

    President of the ‘Associação Portuguesa de Apoio à Vítima’ (APAV), Portugal..

    João Lázaro is currently the President of Victim Support Europe (VSE). As President of the Executive Board João, among other things, represents the organisation to others, presides all meetings, ensures decisions are made in a timely manner and translated into meaningful actions and facilitates the accomplishment of VSE’s strategic goals.

    Holder of a Bachelor degree in Law and a post-graduate degree in Victim-Offender Mediation and Restorative Justice, João is also a practicing lawyer and the Executive President of the Portuguese Association for Victim Support (APAV), a founding member of VSE.

    He has long experience in leading governance roles. Within VSE alone, João has been a member of the Board since 2008 and was elected President after four years serving as its Vice-President. He developed extensive work in the field of victimology and has dedicated his career to advocate for the rights of victims of crime.

Vice President

  • Geraldine Hanna

    Geraldine Hanna has been the Chief Executive of Victim Support NI since February 2015 and in February 2016 she was crowned as the Best Newcomer of the Year in the CO3 Leadership Awards. Geraldine has 16 years’ experience in the victims’ sector and has been the driving force in establishing the Witness Service in courts across Northern Ireland. She has been integral in the development of key initiatives to improve services for victims and witnesses of crime including the Victim’s Charter, Achievement of Best Practice Guidance and Registered Intermediaries. She is passionate about the rights of victims of witnesses. Geraldine regularly volunteers with SOS BUS NI, helping vulnerable people on the streets of Belfast.

  • Richard Olszewski

    For the past 30 years, Richard Olszewski has developed skills and expertise in important fields: resilience of territories, digitalisation and victims support and assistance. “Giving 20% of your time to people to develop a fairer, more socially just and sustainable society” is one of his mottos. With deep convictions and strong values (local politician, director of several associations, professor-researcher), Richard Olszewski is strongly engaged in risk-management activities. He has always been driven by both an entrepreneurial vision and at the same time been animated by local and field-based activities.

    His expertise in the field of territories digital transition and support to cyber victims bring Richard Olszewski to create “Option Public” in collaboration with the urban community of Lens-Liévin. Richard Olszewski is president of this group of companies working on cybercrime.
    He is also involved in many other clusters, which focus on cyber security and victim support. He is managing activities and leading workshops in important professional trade shows (Préventica) and through a specialized magazine (Préventique) in which he has made a substantive contribution.

    The association France Victims, (Richard Olszewski being the President) is the leading partner of the Haut de France Region, in the cyber victims support field.

Executive Board

  • Petra Klein


    Petra Klein has been a member of the board of Weisser Ring Germany since 2010 and has been in charge of Weisser Ring Germany’s branch office in Oldenburg, Lower Saxony since 2009.

    Petra’s professional qualifications:

    Petra Klein retired from her position as police detective chief superintendent in 2008 due to poor health resulting from an accident suffered while on duty.
    As the head of a police negotiation team until 2008, she resolved cases involving hostage taking, kidnapping, blackmail, and threat management in cooperation with international agencies.
    Until 2000, she worked in a special department of the police active in the field of sexual offenses.
    From 2000 – 2008, Petra Klein was the contact person on issues relating to domestic violence for the police in northwestern Germany.

  • Leena-Kaisa Åberg

    Executive Board Member

    Leena-Kaisa Åberg has been the Executive Director of Victim Support Finland since March 2014. Leena-Kaisa has a Master’s Degree in Political Science from Helsinki University. Before leading VS Finland she worked mainly in other Finnish NGOs, such as the Finnish Red Cross where she spent twelve years. Leena-Kaisa has extensive experience in international co-operation, having been a member of several Nordic and European networks.

  • Livija Plančić

    Executive Board Member

    Livija Plančić worked at the Split- Dalmation county Police Department. Encouraged by her professional experiences in relation with the victims rights as well as her long-term engagement to marginalized groups in society she founded Bijeli Krug (the White Circle of Croatie Association) in 2011. Bijeli Krug is the only NGO in the Dalmatian area who’s primary mission is victim  help and support regardless of sex, age and regardless when the crime happened. Ever since, as the president of the White circle Croatia Livija Plancic developed the organisation in a recognizable and a quality member in the victim support system, not only locally but also nationally, warning the government institutions of their drawbacks and underdevelopment of the Croatian victim support and help system, suggesting ways to improve according to the European laws and European practice working with victims.

  • Gábor Veisz

    Executive Board Member

    Dr. Gábor Veisz has been working in the field of victim support since 2009. Between 2011 and 2017 he was head of the Victim Support Unit of the Hungarian Office of Justice (later Ministry of Justice), thus being responsible for the professional coordination of the Hungarian victim support system. The Hungarian state organisation for victim support became an associate member of VSE during his leadership. Also, Hungary was among the first to transpose the regulations of the 2012 Victim Support Directive in 2015. After leaving public service, he started his own legal practice in Győr in western Hungary and became a member of Fehér Gyűrű Közhasznú Egyesület/White Ring Association, the longest standing victim support organisation in the country. He has university degree in law from Budapest (MA) and from Dundee (BA).

  • Olga Kostina

    Executive Board Member

    Olga Kostina is a prominent Russian journalist and human rights activist. Founder and Chair of Victim Support Foundation Russia (formerly – Soprotivlenie) since 2005. Olga was a member of the Civic Chamber of the Russian Federation (2008-2014), which brings together human rights activists to find solutions to the most topical governmental and social issues.

    Olga is a member of Public Councils at the Federal Bailiff Service and the Investigative Committee at the Public Prosecutor’s Office of the Russian Federation; member of the State Commission on Crime Prevention; member of the Presidential Coordinating Council for Implementing the National Children’s Strategy and one of the trusted confidants of the President of Russia during his 2012 and 2018 elections.

  • Tobias Koertner

    Executive Board Member

    Tobias Koertner is a psychologist/psycho-social counsellor and team leader for victim support at Weisser Ring Austria. In that role he is responsible for leading and coordinating the victim support teams of Austria as well as their victim emergency hotline. He is also a representative of Weisser Ring Austria at Radicalisation Awareness Network.

  • Silvia Taravan

    Executive Board Member

    Silvia Taravan is the president of Rete Dafne Italia, the first national crime victim support network. She has been a strong advocate of the development of Rete Dafne, from a local pilot project, started in 2008 in Turin, to an established association in 2015 which later evolved into a national network in 2018. She takes part in the Institutional Coordination Board with the aim of creating a nationwide generic victim support service, chaired by the Ministry of Justice. She has been working for more than 20 years for a non-profit social Organisation (Associazione Gruppo Abele Onlus) which provides support and rehabilitation services to people with personal, family and social issues. It is in this sector that she has developed a specific interest in victim’s rights, and for the past ten years has dedicated part of her work to Rete Dafne.