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Call for Contributions

The Call for Contributions for VSE’s 2021 Annual Conference Side Events is now open! 

The deadline for submitting your proposal is 25 April 2021.

This year’s conference is devoted to celebrating the 3 decades of victim support community in Europe and will be called “Transforming victim support: from dream to reality”. We will bring together the co-founders, partners and members of VSE to reflect upon the progress done by support workers during the last 3 decades and to present innovative approaches to developing comprehensive generic and specialist victim support services for the years to come.   

With this in mind, this year’s Conference will explore the history of victims’ rights in Europe, the changing landscape for support of victims and the future of victims’ rights in Member States.  

We are inviting inspiring and inspired speakers to contribute to our conference by conducting an online side event:

  • 1-1,hour workshop/presentation/educative game/masterclass + 30 min for Q&A – which, depending on the subject could be conducted by one presenter or split between two or three speakers. 

We welcome interactive and creative working methods. For example:

  • Debating session (online debate),
  • Short training or instruction sessions (introducing skills or tools),
  • Educative games or simulations (roleplaying, quiz, association cards),
  • Short movie/documentary presentation,
  • Casuistic session (discussion of relevant issues using real life cases or victims’ stories).

This Year’s Topics

As in previous years, we will continue to focus on all victims of crimes. However, acknowledging the many particular issues in this field, we will also have a specific focus on  

  • victims of gender-based violence;  
  • victims of online crimes; 
  • victims of hate crimes; 
  • victims of terrorism; 
  • victims in the international context;  
  • best practices of setting up and developing victim support services; 
  • supporting victims across sectors; 
  • unreported crime and safe justice. 

We invite professionals working in the field of rights and services for victims of crime to submit proposals for a side event. 

In our workshops we want to discuss some of the pressing topics for victims, victim support professionals and practitioners in Europe and beyond. Here are our proposed 5 topics for the side events: 

1. Supporting victims across sectors

In this theme, we are interested in side events that will present the practices of how organisations develop effective support services in a comprehensive and strategic manner, based on rights, driven by needs and established within the framework of the broader victim response system. The workshops will emphasize the way the support services are interconnected with wider social systems, signifying that first agencies of contact within this wider system (education, consulates, medical facilities and social services) make up part of a comprehensive national victim support framework. Only through such a comprehensive victim support system can we aim to maximise restitution and recovery. 

How do organisations successfully make victim support services effective? 
How to ensure that support services are available for victims and that equal access to services is provided to victims in an entire country
How to make sure that victim support services are recognised by the state, the justice system or justice professionals?
How are specific needs of victims accounted for in the development and the provision of services?  

2. Specific groups of victims

In this theme, we feature experts sharing their knowledge and experience in supporting specific groups of victims. 

  • Victims of gender-based violence

What are the different psychological repercussions on victims of sexual abuse?
How to ensure understanding and reporting of sexual violence? 
How to end victim blaming?
How to adequately respond to victims’ needs in the era of #Metoo movement? 
What are the support needs of less visible victims of sexual crimes – victims of marital rape, children, men, transgender persons, victims of trafficking?  

  • Victims of online crimes

How do the short-term and long-term effects of online crime differ from those of ‘traditional’ crime?
What are the best ways to support victims of online crime?
How can we raise awareness about online crime and empower Internet users to engage in safe behaviours online without placing the blame onto victims?
How has the merging of private and professional life caused by the pandemic (and work from home) affected the types and prevalence of online crime?
How can online crime be successfully investigated and prosecuted, considering that online crime is frequently also cross-border? 

  • Victims of hate crimes

How to effectively legislate hate crimes? 
How to increase the reporting rate of hate crimes? 
How to address the specific needs of hate crime victims and the needs of communities affected by hate crimes?
Which kind of support is available for victims of hate crimes? 

  • Victims of terrorism

How to ensure victim-centred emergency response planning, immediate aftermath response and long-term care?
How to make sure all victims in large scale attacks are identified and offered support? 
How to meet the needs of foreign victims of terrorism? 
Are there specific compensation schemes for victims of terrorism? 
How can we ensure victims’ return to employment? 

3. Victims in an international context

Being a victim in a country that is not your own, being far from your relatives, your environment, leads to difficulties and specific consequences that are true vectors of vulnerability. Complications related to the foreign context are several and can be cumulative.  

What are those difficulties that are related to being a victim abroad?
What are the difficulties inherent with dealing with cross-border crime
How to support victims outside of your own country and how to support victims whose crime happened abroad? 
What are the specific issues of cross-border victimisation within the EU and cross-border victimization with a non-EU element? 
What are practices in cross-border referral? 

4. Setting up and developing victim support services

The aim of this side event is to broaden and deepen knowledge in the area of establishing and developing comprehensive victim support services at a national level. 

Conceptual as well as practical contributions are important in this context. For instance: 

Which structures need to be in place to guarantee a successful setup of a victim support organisation?
Which funding options and opportunities are available?
What are the different ways in which quality of services can be assessed and improved?
What are the main challenges of providing generic vs. specialised support services?
How can organisations providing specialised services still be inclusive to broader groups of victims of crime?
How has the COVID-19 pandemic, one year on, changed the context in which victim support services are provided? Have there been any unexpected positive developments (e.g. setting up online support services)? 


5. Unreported Crime and Safe Justice

This side event will focus on how to organise your criminal proceedings to fit the needs of victims, as criminal justice systems are more focused on offenders and society than victims. It will also elaborate on how to improve the ability to record and collect crime data as well as on how to help victims to report crimes or to reach out to support services. 

What are the mechanisms to report a crime?
How can we remove or limit barriers to reporting crime and reaching services?
What are the best practices for supporting victims in the criminal justice system: at the initial reporting stage, at the investigation and prosecution stages, at the trial stage, at the sentencing stage, at the parole stage?
How could the criminal justice system improve the way victims are treated, from the standpoint of victims’ reception and their participation to the trial? 
How to ensure victims are informed throughout the proceedings? 
What measures can be adopted to guarantee victims representation during trial?  

Procedure and Deadline

Workshop proposals can be submitted by filling out this online form:
Online Form

Submissions close on 25 April 2021 midnight CET.

While we appreciate the commitment and enthusiasm of all the candidates, please note that we usually receive more requests for presentations than we can realistically accommodate into our conference programme. To make sure that the programme is presenting a balanced content the Programme Committee will review the proposals using the following criteria:

  • Conformity with the overall theme and focus of the VSE conference,
  • Interactivity and creativity of the proposed workshop format or working method,
  • Equal representation of all the topics in the programme.

The workshop programme will be published on the conference website after all submitters are informed.

If you have any questions, please contact