European Day for Victims of Crime marked all over Europe

22 Feb, 2017

In recognition of 22 February 2017, European Day for Victims of Crime, VSE members all around Europe organised series of actions and events.

Here you can find information on some of the actions and events that took place in: Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Finland, Portugal, Slovakia, Serbia and UK (England and Northern Irleand)

AUSTRIA – Weisser Ring

Effective measures to fight hate crime

The Austrian Victims’ day is hosted annually by the Weisser Ring in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Interior. More than 120 stakeholders from different professional areas like ministries and political authorities, police, justice, science and victim support organisations attend.

Background:

Attacks against migrants, refugees, handicapped people, members of religious communities, homeless people or LGBTI persons, hate speech in social media and shitstorms against women- worldwide, there is a dramatic increase of bias-motivated violence including hate crimes. The Austrian Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution registered 51.1 % more hate crimes compared to the previous year.

Bias-motivated crimes and hate-crimes signalise victims that they are not welcome within our society and lead to social stigmatisation. For these reasons, consequences for the victims are particularly severe. They range from feelings of shame, threat and helplessness, through to negative psychological effects like self hate, social withdrawal or isolation. Hate-motivated crimes never only affect individuals, but  all members of certain groups, the constitutional state and the pluralistic society as a whole. Therefore it is of utmost importance to strongly counteract every kind of bias- and hate-motivated actions and offences. A strong signal of zero-tolerance from civil society and political institutions, and the support and solidarity towards the victims are needed.

The conference is meant to be a contribution to enhance alliances and cooperations for the united opposition towards against hate crimes. Main aims of the conference are:

  • to raise awareness among actors dealing with the phenomenon
  • enhancement of protection of victims of hate crimes
  • strengthening cooperation between justice authorities and NGOs
  • enhancement of the identification of specific protection needs of victims of hate crimes by individual assessment
  • setting up of an information-platform for victims

Ministers and state secretaries representing several departments of the government (Interior, Justice, Family and Youth, State Secretary for Diversity, Public Service and Digitalisation) will contribute with short statements, followed by expert presentations from the police, journalism, victim support and science.

For further information see Weisser Ring web (only in German)

BELGIUM – Steunpunt Algemeen Welzijnswerk

Dag van het slachtoffer 2017

Like every year, on Victims’ day Steunpunt organizes  a Conference day in Flemish parliament: Dag van het slachtoffer.

This year the conference is on the 23rd of February.

The main topics are: Burn out and compassion fatigue of Victim Supporters in the morning session and in the afternoon: Computer crime/ (online fraud, sexting, stalking).

The target group are Victim support workers in the police, justice and welfare department.

Croatia – Ministry of Justice, Independent Service for Victim and Witness Support 

In recognition of the European day for Victims of crime, the Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Croatia, Independent Service for Victim and Witness Support will participate at the several events organised to mark that day.

Nikica Hamer Vidmar, the head of the Independent service for victim and witness support will give a presentation:

  • about victim and witness support system in Croatia at the event organized by the County Team for Prevention and Combating Domestic Violence and Violence Against Women in Varaždin County
  • about the state of implementation of the Victims Directive at the Seminar „Training of professionals and cooperation in the framework of article 25 and 26 of the Victims’ Directive – how to develop victim awareness within our services and better collaboration between services“ in Brussels, organised by the Criminal Justice Platform Europe

Ministry of Justice will also participate at the:

The aim of the conference is to raise public awareness about victims’ rights, to promote the rights of victims of crime as well as to raise the level of trust in the Croatian criminal justice system.

  • Presentation of the results of the research „Child – friendly Justice system: children’s experience“, conducted in Croatia as the part of the project of the Fundamental Rights Agency, organised by the Croatian Legal Centre. The aim of the public discussion is to show the perspective of the children in criminal proceedings and to discuss the factors that can interfere of facilitate the exercising of the victim’s rights

Croatia – Victim and Witness Support Service

Activities of Victim and Witness Support Service related to February 22nd

  • National Call Center for Victims of Crime- 116 006
    • Launching video “How to hide bruises?”- awareness raising video about gender based violence made in collaboration with PR agency MediaVal and beauty blogger Masha from Croatia
    • Thunderclap campaign – Raise your voice for victims’ rights
      • http://thndr.me/ZPqis5
      • Main purpose of the campaign: raising awareness about victims’ rights and imploring institutions for fast-tracking the implementation of Directive 2012/29/EU
      • Main message: “Last year, there were over 80,000 victims in the Republic of Croatia, and the legal system (legislature) still does not ensure adequate rights for them.”
      • Invitations sent to NGOs working with victims, volunteers, famous people from Croatia, media
    • Instagram campaign – awareness raising through Instastory
      • Instagram profile: NPC_116006
      • https://www.instagram.com/npc_116006
      • VWSS’ volunteers are going to share inspirational messages through InstaStory on February 22nd
      • Hashtags: #116006 #EUvictimsday
      • The campaign Is open to all
      • Main purpose: sharing the message “You’re not alone. Call 116 006 for support! #EUvictims day”
    • Media coverage: a segment about 116 006 line at prime time at our national television on a show- Hrvatska uzivo
    • Article about victims’ rights written by National Call Centers’ volunteers focused on Directive 2012/29/EU and real life examples featured on the blog https://podrskazrtvamaisvjedocima.wordpress.com/blog/
  • Launching video on Victim Support and Victims’ Rights (by VSE) with Croatian subtitles
  • https://www.facebook.com/zrtveisvjedoci/
  • Press release about victims’ rights and the importance of Directive 2012/29/EU
  • National Conference “Rights, support, protection and compensation of victims of crime”
    • Activity on a project funded by the European Commission – grant under the Justice Programme
    • Documenta, White Circle Croatia, Centre for Peace and the Victim and Witness Support Service will implement the Project Rights, support, protection and compensation of victims of crime to contribute the implementation and practical application of Directive 2012/29/EU on establishing minimum standards on the rights, support and protection of victims of crime and Directive 2004/80/EC relating to compensation to crime victims
    • Conference is going to be held in Zagreb at The Croatian Journalists’ Association on February 22nd
    • It is open for professionals working with victims and witnesses (police, judges, lawyers, NGOs…)
    • The main purpose of the conference is awareness raising when it comes to basic victims’ rights – treating victims in a respectful, sensitive and professional manner
    • the focus of the conference is stressing the importance of specialized training modules for police, prosecutors, judges, lawyers and other professionals to deal with victims in a sensitive and appropriate manner
  • Victim and Witness Support Service- Open Doors Day- 22nd February
    • VWSS is going to invite citizens of Vukovar to its office – Reference Center Vukovar where they will get the opportunity to learn more about primary legal aid and VWSS
    • VWSS also invited associates, other institutions and NGOs who work with victims to a gathering in their office in Vukovar
    • The main purpose of the gathering is the exchange of good practices

Finland – Victim Support Finland

Week of events around the country

Victim Support Finland has made a press release concerning their growing services related to the Victims’ Day.  This has been the traditional way that VS Finland raise up the day since they now have the main statistics from last year.  In addition, there are several local events organized during the week. They are usually small events where there are conversations about victims’ rights and victim support services but also small seminars or training.

In the press release (only in Finnish) VS Finland tell about how more people have been able to get support from their services. In support relations, there is a growth of 38 % from the previous year. VS Finland also mention the Directive and its new duties for the authorities. In the press release there are also the events related to Victims’ Day are mentioned.

Full description of local events in different parts of Finland can be found here

IRELAND – CRIME VICTIMS HELPLINE

We’ll be here on the line for anyone wanting support,information or a friendly voice to talk to about their experiences with crime. Freephone 116006 to reach us; seeking support is a sign of strength and the first step in coping. We’d love to help you take that first step.

PORTUGAL – APAV

Support to family and friends of victims of homicide

On the February 22nd, European Crime Victim Day, APAV will hold a seminar/debate on the impact and support of relatives and friends of homicide victims at the Headquarters facility in Lisbon.

Since 2013, APAV has supported families and friends of homicide victims through the specialized network RAFAVH – Support Network for Relatives and Friends of Homicide Victims – at the national level, providing practical, psychological, social and legal support, contributing to Minimizing the impact of the homicide crime on the lives of family members and friends of the victims. Because of the specificity of the crime, the victims of attempted homicides are also supported by RAFAVH.

In addition to presenting the results of the work of the RAFAVH, a new awareness campaign will also be launched, developed creatively by a group of students from the School of Social Communication. This new raising awareness campaign is about support to family and friends of victims of homicide.

On February 22nd APAV will promote posters, leaflets and social media advertising.

SERBIA – Victimology Society of Serbia

On occasion of 22nd February –European day for victim of crime, Victimology Society of Serbia together with The Protector of citizens/Ombudsman of the Autonomous Province of Vojvodina prepared a Statement for media.

On 21st of February at 12.00 in Novi Sad will be signed the memorandum of understanding between The Protector of citizens/Ombudsman of the Autonomous Province of Vojvodina and Victimology Society of Serbia. In this memorandum will be defined mutual cooperation. The aim of cooperation is improving position of victims and witnesses in accordance with international law and standards and models of best practice.

On 22nd of February,  OSCE in Serbia, State Prosecutor of the Republic of Serbia and Victimology Society of Serbia will organize conference titled: Conference marking the European Day for Victims of Crime in Belgrade. Conference will happen in  Hotel Zira and starts at 11.00 a.m.

In the week 20-28 February the VDS staff will organize five lectures for students of different Faculties within Belgrade University. The aim of the lectures will be introduction of students about EU Victim’s day and about service for victims in Serbia.

All events mentioned below are also presented on VDS web site and disseminated on social media.

Slovakia – Victim Support Slovakia

Awareness raising about your national events for the EU Victims’ Day

Experts’ conference  “Rights and Needs of Victims of Crime”

Nowadays, Slovakia is the process of preparing the new Bill on Victims. The Ministry of Justice created the experts group which discovered the basic differences in understanding not only tools and services to support the victims of crime, but even differences in understanding the need of legislation supporting the victims. The aim of conference is to publicly discuss the victims’ needs and services to support victims including practical issues as financial mechanism to support the services provides. The conference primarily target groups are the public policy stakeholders, representatives of relevant public resorts, experts of all kinds of victims support and experts´ public. The aim is also to increase the media interest and understanding of the victims’ rights and support.

The conference will be opened by Jana Zitnanska, Minister of Justice of the Slovak Republic and Erika Jurinova, Head of the Human and Minority Rights Parliamentary Committee of the National Council of Slovak Republic

United Kingdom – Supporting Justice

 Victims Choice Website – Giving Victims a Voice

Supporting Justice is proud to announce the development of Victims Choice, a new website designed to provide information to all victims of crime on victim services available in their area. Not only this, but users will be able to write anonymous reviews of the service that they have received, or read reviews by past service users to help them make an informed choice about who to seek support from. The Victims Choice website will officially launch in April 2017 and will list services provided in the UK

If you would like your service to be listed on the site, or you have accessed a service as a victim and would like to provide a review ahead of the launch date, then please contact uSupporting Justice at: info@supportingjustice.org.uk

Supporting Justice are keen to work with others to see the website grow and ensure that victims can make confident choices in moments of crisis.

Anyone can be a victim?

In addition, Supporting Justice are also holding an event in their WeWork serviced office to promote EU Victims’ Day named Anyone can be a victim?

If you were a victim would you know what to do? Would you know where to get help? Or could you help others?

No one expects to be a victim but all of us will be a victim or have a friend of family affected by crime in their lifetime. This might be a victim of burglary, assault, racist insults, fraud or even terrorism.

On EU victims day 22 February 1-3pm take the time to find out more.

Supporting Justice is marking the day by running a drop in session in Room A.

  • Hear about the experiences of victims
  • The issues they face from reporting the crime to going to court
  • What support is available if you were a victim and how to access it?

This event is open to everyone, those who know nothing or those who might have personal experience.  It’s a drop in to chat and find out more about the work we do.

United Kingdom – Victim Support Northern Ireland

ISVA Service and new look website

To mark European Day for Victims of Crime this year Victim Support NI will launch  ISVA Service and new look website

The ISVA (Independent Sexual Violence Advocate) Service provides support and help to victims of sexual violence.  Funded by the Department of Justice NI and Comic Relief, the service has been trialing since September.  Already the two ISVAs have full caseloads, demonstrating the need that exists for such a resource in Northern Ireland.

Victim Support NI’s website has undergone a full redesign and is now a modern, user-friendly resource containing the information victims and witnesses of crime in Northern Ireland need in order to know their rights, find out more about the criminal justice system, discover what we do and how to access our services.