• 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.

Vice Presidents

  • Helgard van Hüllen

    Helgard van Hüllen is Vice President of Victim Support Europe and Deputy National Chair of Weisser Ring Germany, where she is also a Member of the Advisory Board for Education and Training. Dr. van Hüllen is also head of Weisser Ring’s branch in Bad Tölz/Wolfratshausen in Bavaria and has over 20 years of experience in delivering support for victims and running victim support organisations.

    Dr. Helgard van Hüllen began working as a volunteer with Weisser Ring in 1993 and became a member of the board in 1998.

  • 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.
    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.

Our Secretariat

  • Levent Altan

    Executive Director

    Levent is responsible for providing overall leadership, strategic direction and management of the organisation. He has been Executive Director of Victim Support Europe since November 2014. Before joining Victim Support Europe, he worked as Principal   Legal Advisor at Milieu Ltd, a multi-disciplinary consultancy, where led a team running various multi-country projects on justice and home affairs. He worked twice for the European Commission (DG Justice) as a national expert. During that time he was responsible for drafting and negotiating the EU Directive establishing minimum standards on the rights, support and protection of victims of crime. Prior to this, Levent had been working for around 10 years as a UK civil servant in the Ministry of Justice, the Home Office and the Cabinet Office.

    Languages: English, French

  • Aleksandra Ivankovic

    Deputy Director

    Aleksandra is a widely respected human rights lawyer with a passion for justice and equality for all. She has supported several international organisations, governments and NGOs and has developed her capacities in this field of rights of women and persons with disabilities, linking her work with some key human rights agencies and procedures. Previously Project Manager of Victim Support Europe, in August 2018 Aleksandra has been appointed as our new Deputy Director. In VSE, she is responsible for supporting the executive director in the development and implementation of the VSE’s strategic plans and policies, and to provide leadership and direction to the VSE team. Before joining VSE, Aleksandra has worked at the European Court of Human Rights, litigated on behalf of victims with disabilities and managed several European human rights projects.

    Languages: English, French, Bosnian/Croatian/Montenegrin/Serbian, Macedonian and basic Italian and Spanish

  • Jeanette Fava

    Office Manager

    Jeanette joined Victim Support Europe (VSE) in September 2017. She is presently responsible for the human resources, office, logistics and membership management of VSE as well as its partnerships with other international organizations. She also coordinates work and does all the internal and external reports including those to the European Commission. In addition, she administers both the EU and other grants applications for funding and provides administrative support to the Executive Board, the executive director and all the team of VSE.
    Before joining VSE, she was a diplomat at the Permanent Representation of Malta to the EU in Brussels and worked on legislative and non-legislative dossiers with the Commission, the European Parliament and the Council of the EU. Previously, she worked as a teacher, office manager and subsequently as a senior manager within the Ministry for Education and Employment in Malta.

    Apart from her comprehensive and various pedagogical studies, she has recently read for a Bachelor of Commerce in Finance and an Executive Master in Business Administration. Last year she has also conducted an extensive research on the EU legislative decision-making process and provided several recommendations for better and more transparent EU law-making.

    Languages: English, French, Dutch, Italian, Arabic, Maltese

  • Mazen Alsiufi

    Finance Officer

    Mazen Alsiufi joined VSE as Financial Officer in 2018. In this position, Mazen is responsible for the overall financial strategy and direction at VSE. Within finance, he manages the financial system (overseeing daily bookkeeping, payments and invoicing), overall budget, financial reports, internal and external financial audits, and grant applications for funding to pursue the company’s growth strategy.

    Prior to joining VSE, Mazen held previous Finance Coordinator roles with Save The Children International and Syrian Arab Red Crescent. Throughout his career in accounting, auditing and financial planning, Mazen has established a reputation for aligning financial metrics to support organization’s strategy and high-growth.

    Languages: English, Arabic

  • Marina Kazakova

    Communications Officer

    As communications officer at VSE, Marina Kazakova is responsible for strategic communications planning, knowledge dissemination and outreach to the key audiences that we seek to influence. Before joining VSE in 2018, Marina served as Communications Officer at the European Association of Institutions in Higher Education (EURASHE) and as Journalist at the Word Magazine, Brussels. A newsperson at heart, Marina sees storytelling as the binding thread in her career. She is currently the Continental Europe Committee’s Representative to the NUJ’s New Media Industrial Council (NMIC) and Retention and Recruitment officer at the Brussels branch of the National Union of Journalists (UK and Eire).

    Marina received a master’s degree in public relations from State Linguistic University of Nizhny Novgorod, an advanced Master in Transmedia from Sint-Lukas Brussel, and is recently working on her PhD on lyric film-poetry at KU Leuven.

    Languages: English, Russian, Dutch

  • Ruth Mary Shrimpling

    Policy Officer

    Ruth joined VSE as Policy Officer in 2018. With an academic background in Law and professional experience working in social services, Ruth is an adamant defender of universal human rights and the fundamental freedoms of all individuals and groups. As Policy Officer, Ruth is responsible for supporting the development of policy guidance, recommendations and expert advice on victims’ rights, needs and services. She also coordinates work on cross-border crime issues, including supporting VSE’s terrorism response network. In addition, Ruth may be seen representing VSE at conferences, seminars, or liaising with external organisations and the media.

    Prior to joining VSE, Ruth campaigned for the universal right to healthcare on behalf of Médecins du Monde, where she also spent four years working on the frontline with the most excluded members of our society.

    Languages: English/French bilingual. Basic Spanish and Italian.

  • Léa Meindre-Chautrand

    Intern-Policy Assistant

    As Intern-Policy Assistant, Léa Meindre-Chautrand supports VSE team in project management, funding proposals and desk research. Before joining VSE in 2018, Léa worked with the International Federation of Human Rights (FIDH) in Brussels and the Human Rights House Foundation in Geneva where she gained experience in UN and EU advocacy, research and legal analysis on the human rights situation in different countries. She also coordinated the involvement of several civil society organisations based in Geneva, Washington and New York in the nomination process of the UN Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association.
    Léa completed her Master’s Degree in international and European human rights law at the Catholic University of Lille, France.

    Languages: English, French

  • An Verelst


    An Verelst is a clinical psychologist, researcher, victim specialist, and project manager. An worked as a trauma psychologist in war-affected regions in Northern Uganda and Eastern Congo. In Eastern Congo she managed a victim support NGO and carried out a large scale quantitative and qualitative study on the psychosocial consequences of sexual violence during and after the armed conflict. During this research project she acquired the necessary skills to carry out qualitative and trauma-sensitive interviews and participatory action research with vulnerable victims.

    From 2015 until 2018, she worked as policy officer and Deputy director of Victim Support Europe, among others on the issue of Compensation for victims of violent crime. She carried out desk research, developed surveys and carried out interviews with victim support organisations and national compensation authorities on compensation of victims with a particular focus on cross-border victimisation. Currently, An works as a coordinator of the RefugeesWellSchool project for Ghent University and volunteers at V-Europe and Victim Support Europe. As a volunteer she works on improving support and compensation for victims of terrorism in Belgium, Europe and internationally, with governmental and non-governmental stakeholders.

    Languages: English, French, Dutch

  • Shirley Remonato

    Intern-Policy Assistant

    As Intern-Policy Assistant, Shirley Remonato supports VSE team in project management, funding proposals and desk research. Before joining VSE in 2018, Shirley was an intern at the International Victimology Institute (INTERVICT) in Holland where she gained experience in research, specifically on human trafficking victims, while she was completing her Msc in Victimology and Criminal Justice, at Tilburg University. She previously specialized in Behavioural Analysis at Neurocomscience in Italy.

    Languages: English, Italian, French, Spanish