For the last decades, victim support has evolved into a large community and network of experts in Europe and across the world. It has developed, constantly adapting itself to new contexts and new challenges – such as the COVID-19 pandemic -, political climates and the emergence of new forms of crime (eg cybercrime).
This session will provide an examination of the progression of victim support throughout the last decades, its transformation, struggles and the challenges it faces today.
Our first speakers will discuss the origins of victim support in Europe, its progression and the challenges it faces today, while Victim Support Asia and the Grief Directory will introduce us to the regional challenges they are facing.
Dame Helene Reeves, former Chief Executive, Victim Support, UK
Marketa Vitousova, Bily Kruh Bezpeci, Czech Republic
Yongwoo Lee, President and Founder, Victim Support Asia
Dr Fatima Ali Haider, Co-Founder of The Grief Directory, Pakistan
Levent Altan, Executive Director, Victim Support Europe
Judith Thompson, Commissioner for victims and survivors of the conflict in Northern Ireland
Sue O’Sullivan, Chair, International Network Supporting Victims of Terrorism and Mass Violence (INVICTM)
Michael O’Connel, Commissioner for Victims’ Rights, Australia (2006-2018)
THEME 2: Developing national framework for victims of crime
Supporting victims of crime does not only mean establishing victim support organisations and services, but also developing an entire victim-centred national system. Entities and organisations such as justice and law enforcement, societal services (social services, medical care…) and the private sector must be included in a network of victim support services and integrate victim-centred policies and priorities.
This session will present the concept of a national framework for a comprehensive victim support, including inspiring experience on developing policy for victim support in Australia, Canada and Germany.
THEME 3: The role of the victim social support network
Family, friends and members of communities can have a major influence on the victims’ wellbeing and process of recovery. While offering a familiar and safe environment, they can provide social support and, in some cases, help the victim’s reintegration to society.
ADVIC Ireland is an organisation ran by homicide victims’ families and for homicide victims’ families. Their work focuses on helping these families coping with trauma and advocating for their better inclusion in the justice system.
On the Road is an Italian organisation that develops projects to help women, men and children under conditions of high vulnerability to exercise their rights. Through the ‘Life Beyond the Shelter’ (LIBES) Project, they seek to support the long-term integration of victims of human trafficking by implementing innovative solutions, including peer support programme and transitional houses.
Joan Deane, ADVIC Ireland, Ireland
Silvia Bisconti, On the Road Società Cooperativa Sociale, Italy
THEME 4: Development of a generic support service
As of today, more than 20 EU Member States offer generic support services for victims, which means they offer their services to all victims of all crimes.
What are the steps to develop a generic support service? What can be the practical and political obstacles met? What are the channels of delivering the support to victims and what are the best and innovative practices to put in place?
Weisser Ring is a network of German victim support organisations that provide human assistance, personal support and other innovative forms of help to victims of crime. Building on their decades of experience working with victim support organisations, the Weisser Ring Academy offers trainings and specialist knowledge to all persons who come in contact with victims.
THEME 5: Victim support delivered by other sectors
While victim support organisations play a major role in providing direct support to victims of crime, other actors such as governmental institutions and healthcare entities integrate victim support policies into their practices.
What forms of victim support are delivered by these sectors and what is their role? How do they interact with the civil society and how do they influence national policies and frameworks?
This session will gather stakeholders from various sectors, such as the health and academia sectors, during which they will present their innovative policies and solutions to put victims’ rights into practice.
Aneta Genova, Attorney at law, Bulgaria
Marta Chaves, National Lifecycle Violence Prevention Programme, Directorate-General for Health, Ministry of Health, Portugal
Faroek Özgünes, Investigative journalist, Belgium
THEME 6: Specialising services for all victims
Crime can affect victims in various ways and each individual will react to and cope with crime differently. Adapting the services to the needs of each victim is essential to ensure that their specific needs are met and they are offered appropriate means and tools to cope after a crime.
Based on their needs-based approach, Victim Support Finland will present the importance of specialising services for all victims of crime.
THEME 7: Innovative therapies and methods that help victims to recover
Now more than ever, new and innovative therapies and methods are constantly being developed and used by private practitioners, the civil society or within justice systems. They offer new solutions adapted to each victim’s specific needs, based on new therapeutical approaches or new technologies and platforms.
During this session, Professor Dr. Michael Duffy will introduce us to his extensive research on the effectiveness of cognitive behavioural psychotherapy (CBT) and how this could help victims with symptoms of PTSD, linked to conflicts and traumatic events.