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President, Victim Support Europe
Welcoming Remarks

João Lázaro is the Executive President of the Portuguese Victim Support Association (APAV) and President of Victim Support Europe (VSE). 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. João has worked with APAV since 1995, starting out as its Secretary General until 2007 when he became CEO, right until 2010 when he was elected President, therefore with administration and management roles with regards to human resources. Within VSE, João has been a member of the Board since 2008 and was re-elected President in 2018. As President of the VSE’s 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. João has had also important working positions within several renowned national associations and has been a lecturer in different criminology courses in distinguished Portuguese Universities. Throughout the years he has been a speaker to several conferences on topics related to the rights of victims of crime and support services to crime victims. He has four articles published on restorative justice, as well as on victimization.

European Commission’s Coordinator for Victims’ Rights
Opening Speech

Katarzyna Janicka-Pawlowska is the European Commission Coordinator for Victims’ Rights. Katarzyna is heading the Victims’ Rights Team in DG Justice and leading on victims’ rights policy, including enforcement of the EU rules, policy development and mainstreaming of the victims’ rights policy.

Katarzyna joined the European Commission in 2002 and since then has contributed to the enlargement of the European Union, completion of the single market, including digital single market, economic relation between the Union and third countries, the EU transparency and open data policy, non-discrimination and EU criminal law. She has contributed to the enactment and enforcement of several EU legal acts in these domains. Katarzyna has an extensive expertise in the EU decision-making and in the enforcement of EU law.

Katarzyna has an LL.M. in European law from the College of Europe, Bruges and a master of law degree of the Warsaw University. She has also a Diploma in English Law and the Law of the EU from the Cambridge University. She has also studied French law at the Law Faculty in University of Orléans in France. Katarzyna was born in Poland; she is fluent in Polish, English, French and Spanish.

Survivor of child sexual abuse
Opening Speech – Live Testimony

Dame Helen May REEVES
Former Chief Executive of Victim Support in the UK
Session I: The founding and the progression of victim support movement
Title of the presentation: “The origins of victim support in Europe”

Dame Helen Reeves was the founding Chief Executive of Victim Support and the Witness Service in the UK, retiring at the end of 2005 after 26 years with the charity.

She was also a founding member of Victim Support Europe, serving as Secretary for the first 14 years followed by four years in the Chair. She was Vice President of the World Society of Victimology and in 2015 she received the Hans von Hentig award, the highest award given by the WSV. From 2005-2006 she was Chair of the Committee of Experts for the Council of Europe which produced detailed Recommendations for victims throughout Europe. During her career, she lectured widely on the problems facing victims of crime in many parts of the world and gave evidence to committees of the UN, the European Parliament and the Council of Europe.

Since her retirement Helen has been a member of numerous policy review committees in the UK dealing with many aspects of criminal justice reform. In 1999 she was made a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire in recognition of her pioneering work for victims and witnesses and she has been awarded three honorary Doctor of Laws degrees for her “outstanding contributions to Victim Support”.

Bily Kruh Bezpeci (Czech Republic)
Session I: The founding and the progression of victim support movement
Title of the presentation: “The progression of victim support in Europe”

Marketa has been actively involved in a Czech victim support organization called Bily Kruh Bezpeci since 1997: she firstly started as a volunteer, and since 2003 she works here as a branch manager.

Marketa holds a Master’s degree in social work. As a branch manager for Bily Kruh Bezpeci, she is responsible for a team of 75 volunteers, including lawyers, psychologists, social workers, and university students in Prague. Marketa has experience as phone counsellor on a nonstop helpline for victims and as a victim’s counsellor, as a project manager and a lecturer.

Marketa was a member of VSE’s Board in 2010-2012.

Yong Woo LEE
President and Founder of Victim Support Asia
Session I: The founding and the progression of victim support movement
Title of the presentation: “Challenges facing victim support in Asia”

  • Chairman of Victims Support Asia
  • Chairman of Korea Crime Victim support Center
  • Member of the Ministry of Justice Protection Committee
  • Member of the investigation Policy Committee of the Korean National Police Agency
  • Chairman of Korea Terrorism Victim support Association
  • Member of the National Assembly’s safety committee
  • Member of the Victim Support Economic Review Board
  • President of Buyhearts Inc. (Manufacturing and distribution of stationery)


  • “Who will wipe their tears?” (reality of victims of crime)
  • “Protection and Support Victims of Crime” (related to victim protection support)

Co-founder of The Grief Directory
Session I: The founding and the progression of victim support movement
Title of the presentation: “Challenges facing victim support support in other regions”

Dr. Fatima Ali Haider, a medical doctor and EMDR therapist by training, lost her husband and son in an incident of sectarian terrorism in 2013. Her personal experience and journey after the tragedy made her aware of those suffering in similar situations. Therefore, she co-founded an initiative in 2015 called ‘The Grief Directory’ that was intended to be a bridge of compassion between victims of terrorism in Pakistan who require support and individuals willing to offer it. Through this platform, she has reached out to countless victims of terrorism and their families across the boundaries of religion, sect or ethnicity, providing assistance in areas of health, education and emotional support. Other than directly working with the victims, Dr. Fatima has been conducting youth internship programmes from The Grief Directory’s platform for the last five years, training young college students on empathy, tolerance, acceptance and resilience through in person meetings with victims and diversity tours. The programme, implemented as a CVE intervention, has been well attended by young students, many of them women. She regularly advocates for the rights of victims of terrorism in Pakistan including establishment of institutionalized mechanisms of support and state ownership on various platforms.

Dr. Fatima recently completed her MSc. in Peace and Conflict from the University of Ulster, Northern Ireland and is now undertaking her PhD there which focuses on the issues of women affected by conflict in Pakistan. Her areas of special interest are youth and women empowerment in conflict settings.

Levent ALTAN
Executive Director, Victim Support Europe
Session II: Developing national framework for victim support
Title of the presentation: “The concept of national framework for comprehensive victim support”

Levent Altan has been Executive Director for VSE since 2014. In that role he is responsible for providing overall leadership, strategic direction and management of the organisation.

Levent began his career in 2001 in the UK Ministry of Justice before moving to the Home Office and the Cabinet Office under Prime Ministers Blair and Brown. Having previously worked in the European Commission for three years, Levent returned in 2009, to work as a national expert tasked with writing an EU Directive on victims’ rights.

Over the next three years, he developed the European Union’s policy on victims’ rights, leading the development and negotiation of the EU Directive which establishes minimum rights for victims of crime in 26 Countries across the European Union.

Subsequently, Levent worked as Principal Legal Advisor at Milieu Ltd, a multi-disciplinary consultancy, where he led a team running various multi-country projects on justice and home affairs.

Levent has worked and spoken extensively on victims’ rights across Europe and globally, providing expertise to national governments as well as the UN, Council of Europe and European Union. He helped found VSE’s sister organisation Victim Support Asia, and most recently also became Director of the EU’s Centre of Expertise for Victims of Terrorism.

Former Commissioner for Victims and Survivors
Session II: Developing national framework for victim support
Q&A Session

In August 2015 Judith was appointed by the First and Deputy First Ministers as Commissioner for victims and survivors of the conflict in Northern Ireland. This role was established by legislation in 2006 and its principal aim is to promote the interests of victims and survivors. Judith’s commitment to promoting the interests of victims and survivors of conflict and trauma is based on more than30 years working in various roles within Justice organisations and in communities.
Originally from Stockport in England Judith completed her first degree at the University of Manchester and then a Master’s Degree at the University of Leicester where she met her husband Paul, who originates from Northern Ireland.

Judith came to Northern Ireland in 1984. In her early years as a community-based probation officer in North Belfast Judith saw at first hand the impact of the conflict both on families and on communities.

From 2000 to 2004 Judith was the NI Manager of the Community Justice National Training Organisation, leading skills and qualifications development for work with victims and survivors as well as community safety and work with offenders.

Prior to taking up her role as Commissioner Judith worked for over 10 years with Skills for Justice, leading the work of the organisation in Northern Ireland and in Scotland. She developed standards for work with victims and survivors as well as helping those who work with victims and survivors to obtain qualifications. Judith also worked closely with the Police Service for Northern Ireland to support police reform and in reviewing and developing its response to victims of crime. She has been responsible for making sure the standards and competence frameworks for policing within the community are fit for purpose in Northern Ireland.
Judith is married with two grown-up daughters.

Chair, International Network Supporting Victims of Terrorism and Mass Violence (INVICTM)
Session II: Developing national framework for victim support
Q&A Session

Throughout her career, Sue O’Sullivan has been an advocate for safe and healthy communities and for increased services to victims. Ms. O’Sullivan began her distinguished career in policing in 1981, holding numerous leadership positions throughout her 30 years of service until retiring as Deputy Chief of Police (Ottawa). Continuing forward with her work and drawing on her background and interest in assisting those affected by crime, Ms. O’Sullivan began an appointed term as Canada’s Federal Ombudsman for Victims of Crime on August 16, 2010 and completed her term on November 15th, 2017. During her time as Ombudsman, Ms. O’Sullivan continually placed a strong emphasis on ensuring that victims’ voices were heard at the federal level and pushed for positive change for victims of crime in Canada, including making recommendations to the Government of Canada on legislative and policy amendments.

She is currently the Chair of the International Network Supporting Victims of Terrorism and Mass Violence (INVICTM), Chair of the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police (CACP) National Working Group (Victims), Executive Advisory Board member of Victim Support Asia and a member of the International Victims Focus Group for Operation Kenova. Sue is also a past president of the Leadership in Counter Terrorism Alumni Association and a current member of the Executive Advisory Board. Sue was appointed to the National DNA Data Bank Advisory Committee in 2018.

Michael O’CONNEL
Former Commissioner for Victims’ Rights, Australia (2006-2018)
Session II: Developing national framework for victim support
Q&A Session

Michael served as the inaugural Commissioner for Victims’ Rights, South Australia (2006-2018). In 1995 he was awarded the Australia Police Medal (APM) for his work to advance responses to the needs of victims of crime. He was one of four finalist-nominees for the South Australia Australian of the Year 2004.

ADVIC, Ireland
Session III: The role of victim social support network
Title of the presentation: “The role of friends and family in supporting victims of crime”

Joan became active in victims rights issues following the murder of her son, Russell in 2003 and in 2005 she co-founded AdVIC (“Advocates for the Victims of Homicide”).

Having experienced the harsh reality of the trial process through a victim’s lens, it became clear to her that neither the victims or their families had any voice in the judicial process. Since this time, Joan has been a consistent advocate for the families of homicide victims to ensure that they are not ignored within the criminal justice system and to expeditiously bring about fairer treatment for families during the whole legal process.

In 2006, Joan became the first victim of crime to address the Judicial Studies Institute and she has given numerous talks on the rights of the victims and their families. Joan was Chair of AdVIC from 2010-13.

On the Road Società Cooperativa Sociale
Session III: The role of victim social support network
Title of the presentation: “The community’s role in supporting victims”

Dr Silvia Bisconti is a psychologist and psychotherapist, who holds a Ph.D. and a post-doctoral research experience in the study of brain network activity during cognitive tasks. Her expertise therefore lies in cognitive-behavioural therapy, as well as counselling and psychological support to victims of sexual and labour exploitation, with whom she closely works at On the road Società Cooperativa Sociale.

Silvia has extensive experience in assessing and diagnosing mental and behavioural disorders. She furthermore also plays a role in the promotion of healthy behaviour and preventing diseases.

Currently, Silvia is coordinating the project Life Behind the Shelter in Italy, to ensure that victims of trafficking have a positive and long-term integration.

Bianca BIWER
Weisser Ring, Germany
Session IV: Development of a generic support service
Title of the presentation:”The establishment and operation of generic victim support”

Bianca Biwer, born 1975 in Fulda, has been in charge of WEISSER RING’s operational business since 2013.

Before, she gained professional experience as a lawyer in Great Britain, the USA and in Zagreb and Sarajevo after the Balkan wars.

She worked in a leading position for the German Chamber of Industry and Commerce – the umbrella organisation of Chambers of Industry and Commerce (IHKs). She was then for seven years managing director of IHK Rheinhessen.

Leena-Kaisa ÅBERG
RIKU (Victim Support Finland)
Session V: Specialising services for all victims
Title of the presentation: “The needs-based approach of RIKU-Victim Support Finland”

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.

Attorney at law, Bulgaria
Session VI: Victim support delivered by other sectors
Victim Support within justice system

Aneta Genova has been MDAC Legal Monitor in Sofia, Bulgaria, since June 2005. She graduated from Sofia University Faculty of Law in 1993 and practised as a judge in regional and district courts in Radomir and Pernik until 1998.

Aneta practised as an attorney in the private sector from 1998 until joining MDAC as a Legal Monitor in 2005. Aneta has cooperated with Bulgarian NGOs (Gender Research Foundation and PULS Foundation – Pernik Center for Protection of Women and Children Victims of Violence) by supporting their advocacy activities.

Head of Victim Support unit, Estonia
Session VI: Victim support delivered by other sectors
Victim Support Units in governmental institutions

National Lifecycle Violence Prevention Program, Directorate-General for Health (Ministry of Health, Portugal)
Session VI: Victim support delivered by other sectors
Victim Support in Health Sector

Marta Chaves is the assistant-coordinator of the ‘National Program for the Prevention of Violence in the Lifecycle’ in the Directorate-General of Health of Portugal. She started working as a clinical psychologist in primary health care since 2004, in the Regional Health Administration of Algarve. Here, her work mainly focused on children’s mental health, especially of those children and young people who are at risk. Therefore, Marta started actively advocating for the rights and protection of children and youth and promoting the prevention and intervention in violence throughout the life cycle.

Since 2008, Marta participates in a collaboration with the Directorate-General of Health of Portugal in the ‘Health Action for Children and Youth at Risk’ and since 2013,  she is working in the ‘Health Action on Gender, Violence and Life Cycle’. Her tasks consist of the production of guidelines, the development of technical frameworks and the training of health professionals in the National Health Service in Portugal. In 2012, Marta became the representative of the Ministry of Health in the National Plans for the Prevention and Combat of Traffic in Human Beings.

Full Professor of Criminal law and Criminal Procedure, The Netherlands
Session VI: Victim support delivered by other sectors
Victim Support in the academic sector

Suzan van der Aa (1982) works as a full professor of Criminal law and Criminal Procedure within the department Criminal Law and Criminology of Maastricht University. In June 2010, she defended her multidisciplinary PhD thesis on stalking in the Netherlands. In this thesis, she combined legal research with social-scientific (empirical) research methods. After that, she continued working for the International Victimology Institute Tilburg (INTERVICT, Tilburg University), first as an assistant professor, later as an associate professor. In 2017-2018 she was the vice-dean of education of the Law Faculty of Tilburg University.

Her research focuses on victims of crime and victim rights within the context of criminal proceedings. She has ample research experience in stalking and other forms of gender-based violence. She has lead various national and international research projects involving victims of road traffic offences, victims of intimate partner violence, protection orders, qualified victims, and property crimes within marriage. She is currently working on a project on special needs of victims of hate crime within the criminal procedure.

Investigative journalist, Belgium
Session VI: Victim support delivered by other sectors
Victims and the Media

Faroek Özgünes is a journalist and news host for the Flemish television broadcasting company VTM. He made his début with the programme Royalty in the 1990ies. Afterwards, he became presenter of the daily news programme. In 2008, he combined this with presenting the information programme Telefacts. Since 2011, he has specialized in crime reporting for the daily news and he became the face of the crime investigation programme Telefacts Crime.

Michael Duffy
Director of the Specialist MSc (Trauma) in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy at Queen’s University (UK)
Session VII: Innovative therapies and methods that help victims to recover

Dr Michael Duffy is a cognitive psychotherapist specialising in PTSD and complex grief.

He is the Director of the Specialist MSc (Trauma) in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy at Queen’s University and is recognised worldwide as an expert on the psychological impact of trauma, regularly being invited to provide keynote addresses at international conferences.

He led the work and research of the Trauma Team after the Omagh bombing in 1998 and facilitated studies into the psychological effects on staff providing health care in the immediate aftermath of the bombing. Since then he has provided workshops on PTSD for therapists working with large scale traumas including the 9/11 Twin Towers attack, the Oslo bombing and Utoya Island shootings and the Manchester Concert bomb. He is also a member of the recently formed UK Trauma Council.

At present Michael is researching key cognitive themes linked to complex grief, a condition that more patients will be expected to present with at mental health clinics as a consequence of bereavement by Covid-19.

Geraldine HANNA
Vice President, Victim Support Europe
Closing of the main conference part

Geraldine Hanna has been the Chief Executive of Victim Support NI since 2015. Victim Support NI is the lead charity providing support to victims and witnesses of all types of crime across Northern Ireland.

Geraldine has over 20 years’ experience in the victims’ sector and been the driving force in establishing Victim Support NI’s Witness Service in all criminal courts across Northern Ireland and introducing the role of Independent Sexual Violence Advocates to the region. She has been integral in the development of key initiatives to improve services for victims and witnesses of crime including the Victim and Witness Charters, Achievement of Best Practice Guidance and the introduction of Registered Intermediaries and Sexual Offence Legal Advisers. She is passionate about the rights of victims and witnesses and believes that Northern Ireland has the opportunity to be the leading light for best practice in this field. Geraldine has presented widely on the impact of crime and the criminal justice system on victims and has been a member of advisory panels to numerous reviews of the criminal justice system in Northern Ireland, including the Gillen review of sexual violence and current Hate Crime Review led by HHJ Marrinan.