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This year’s Conference Protecting Fundamental Freedoms, a Victim’s Perspective is an opportunity to discuss the role of victim support community, law enforcement, health professionals, academia, media and private sector in guaranteeing the promotion and respect of victims’ rights, democracy and safeguarding the rule of law.

You can register for the workshops when completing your registration for the conference.

WORKSHOP ORGANISED ON DAY 1 (7 June 2023) | 15:00 - 17:00 CEST

WORKSHOP A | The Role of Youth in victim support

Led by Weisser Ring and Slachtofferhulp

More information will follow soon.

WORKSHOP B | Weisser Ring

Led by Weisser Ring.

More information will follow soon.

WORKSHOP C | Specialised Integrated Intervention Strategies: the examples of gender-based and child sexual violence

Led by Mafalda Valério and Carla Ferreira, APAV (Portuguese Association for Victim Support).

PART 1: Integrated Intervention Strategy for Gender-Based Violence

The prevalence of gender-based violence as well as its impact and negative consequences provide a global health issue and the continued need for targeted intervention strategies is evident. Furthermore, considering risk factors such as intersectionality or re-victimization, highlights the need for interventions based on the individual context and characteristics of each victim.

We acknowledge and further promote the idea that intervention strategies for gender-based violence are required to include multidisciplinary support to successfully address all needs and risks a victim is confronted with. Therefore, the intervention strategy´s distinction between Intervention in crisis, which amongst other entails emotional help, development of active adaptation strategies, and restoring functionality, and urgent intervention, which highlights a time-sensitive need for support and protecting resulting in an immediate articulation with local authorities, is extremely relevant. We as a victim support organization recognize our role in providing such an integrated intervention in order to provide individually tailored and efficient support and to function as a protective factor.

In this workshop participants will have the opportunity to learn about how APAV approaches the challenges mentioned above, by implementing their integrated intervention strategy based on individual needs and risk assessment to guide further steps of intervention and different types of required and integrated support.

PART 2: Sexual Violence: Prevention and Intervention for Children and Youth

There continues to be an urgent need for practical investigation, prevention, and intervention targeting children and youth victims of sexual violence, since children are in a particularly vulnerable position of risk and negative consequences are impactful and long-lasting. Therefore, especially prevention is relevant. We are convinced that prevention strategies for children and youth are all about establishing and training protective factors that allow them to adequately assess situations of possible danger or risk, to make use of competencies and skills developed to avoid such situations, but also to be more sensitive and empathic towards victims.

In this sense, we as a victim support organization acknowledge our responsibility to function as an educator, promotor of support, protection and guidance, not only for children but also their families, professionals, and their community and peers. Furthermore, we acknowledge the responsibility to provide intervention measures in case of victimization.

In this workshop participants will have the opportunity to learn about how APAV approaches the challenges mentioned above, through prevention and intervention strategies aimed at children and youth. A special emphasis lays on prevention and sensitization from an early age on, as well as acquisition of knowledge and competencies through interactive teaching and training methods.

WORKSHOP D | Restorative Justice

Led by Victim Support Europe.

More information will follow soon.

WORKSHOP E | Protecting fundamental freedoms. A closer look at the EU directive and the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR).

Led by Robin Fontijne an Eva Fechner, Slachtofferhulp.

Several protective measures can be discovered both in the EU Directive minimum standards for victims, and in the European Convention on Human Rights. In this workshop, we will provide an overview of various protective measures and discuss how they can provide protection for victims. We will dive into individual needs assessment, privacy for victims, positive obligations for states and protective measures against repeated and secondary victimization.

The workshop will also go into the use of protective measures in practice. How do Victim Support Netherlands (VSN) employees request protective measures for victims? How does the Knowledge, Research and Development department of VSN support these employees? Where are the bottlenecks in the protection of victims and how should they be dealt with?

WORKSHOP F | Sexual Offences Legal Advisors: giving victims of sexual crime in Northern Ireland a voice

Led by Jolena Flett, Victim Support NI 

In 2019, former judge Sir John Gillen published over 250 recommendations to improve the way the criminal justice system treated victims of Sexual Violence. Part of those recommendations was access to free legal advice and support to victims of Sexual Violence up to the point of trial. This would afford victims of serious sexual offences a dedicated solicitor to advise, guide and act on their behalf for any pre-trial legal needs such as disclosure of medical history, access to digital devices and helping them to understand and submit reviews to the Public Prosecution Service for a decision of No Prosecution.

Since 2020, Victim Support NI has been hosting the Sexual Offences Legal Advisor pilot project to help mould and shape what this service will look like in future based on client experience and feedback.

In this side event we would like to present the live experiences of victims and their journey in the criminal justice system and how the SOLA project has changed that. We would also like to present what the project has encountered and learned over the past two years and share our learning.

The presentation will share case studies and participate in the Q&A.

Workshop G |

PART 1: Boys’ right to be free of sexual abuse and exploitation online (LEAGUE project)

Led by Denitsa Kozhuharova, Law & Internet Foundation

Limiting online sexual Exploitation and Abuse Gender based on Underaged boys by Educating experts (LEAGUE) is a project aiming to prevent sexual abuse of boys aged 10-18 online. The project is implemented in two main streams – the first one encompasses the international and national training programmes, while the second one is dedicated to the elaboration of an Internet Platform and Chatbot.

The Victim Identification and Risk Factors workshop is a small group exercise aiming to stimulate participants to open up and share their experience in recognising risk factors of child sexual abuse of boys online. In particular, how to identify signs of abuse and how to detect the boys’ reaction to abuse. Participants will be divided into groups of 4-5 persons, where each group will be handed with exercise cards on the following topics:

  • Individual factors
  • Family factors
  • Behavioural signs
  • Coping and response mechanisms as a reaction to the abuse
  • Disclosure
  • What recognising the factors allows us to do

Each group will deliberate for 30-40 minutes and then share the conclusions with the whole workshop, while the moderator of the session will be working on a canvas noting the key results. The presentation of the conclusions will allow for a group discussion, exchange of ideas, good practices and working methods, while the moderator will summarise at the end. The workshop will conclude by inviting each participant to choose a dixit card to evaluate their experience, based on the respective visual of the card, participants’ feeling of the day and obtained know-how.

PART 2: Femicide as a violation of the human rights to life, liberty & personal security – Findings and recommendations 2017-2020

Led by Aurela Bozo, Center for Legal Civic Initiatives

This workshop aims to reflect on the situation of Femicide in Albania, by sharing the findings and recommendations of a study on Femicide in Albania during the period 2017-2020.

It will cover three components:

  1. The legal situation on femicide and it’s level of compliance with the obligations stemming from the Istanbul Convention;
  2. Findings and recommendations from the monitoring of the court decisions on femicide in Albania;
  3. The capacity assessment of professionals regarding addressing gender based violence.

Center for Legal Civic Initiatives (CLCI) is organising trainings for judges, prosecutors and judicial police officers on effective criminal prosecution of cases of domestic violence and gender based violence. This experience will be used to actively discuss Albania’s achievements and gaps in addressing gender-based violence. The CLCI’s advocacy experience using the standards of the Istanbul Convention, the recommendations of GREVIO, Committee of Parties will be shared interactively with participants.

The methodology:

  • Interactive discussion by participants based in the findings of FEMPLATZ study in Albania;
  • Sharing good practices by me and inviting all participants to share the good practices in their countries;
  • Lessons learnt;
  • Identification through a brainstorm the steps for actions.

WORKSHOP ORGANISED ON DAY 2 (8 June 2023) | 15:00 - 17:00 CEST

WORKSHOP A | Preventing and investigating hate crimes and other crimes which threaten the democracy

Led by Martina Lindberg, Swedish Police Authority

Since 2015 the Swedish Police Authority has had a specific task to combat hate crimes and other crimes where the motive is to silence journalists, politicians and artists. In the big city regions of Stockholm, Gothenburg and Malmo there are specialist groups investigating hate crimes and crimes against important societal functions which safeguard our democratic values and rights. In this session Martina Lindberg, national coordinator and operations developer in the field of democracy and hate crimes, describe the Swedish Police Authorities journey and share best practice and practical examples regarding how to prevent and investigate this type of crimes. The session will also include discussions and Q&A.

WORKSHOP B | Tackling Gender-Related Violence from an intersectional perspective; resources for professional education/training of front line practitioners developed in European projects.

Led by Dr Pam Alldred, Professor at the Nottingham Trent University & gigi guizzo, Development Manager at Rinova Málaga.

Dr Pam Alldred, Professor at the Nottingham Trent University and gigi guizzo, Development Manager at Rinova Málaga, present together a number of resources from past and present projects.

This workshop-presentation introduces practical material developed in EU projects across different countries and available for free in 10 languages (EN, SP, FR, GR, RO, IT, EK, CA, DE, GR). It offers information on how to create mechanisms, and design and implement training to better detect and support victims of racism and/or Gender-Related Violence (GRV). The resources promote appropriate referral (be supportive but know your limits and seek professional help, create local support networks), and give practical tips on how to design and implement inclusive training with an intersectional perspective.

Specific examples will show how to use the resources with different front line workers, including youth work practitioners, public or civic support services, medical staff, police, university staff etc.

Here some resources that will be presented:

The workshop will introduce the term Gender Related Violence (GRV) as LGBTQI+ inclusive, and illustrate with examples that training tackling GRV needs to be designed with an intersectional perspective. This will open up space to make visible underlying power structures specific to each training group, and help trainers to remain adaptable to ever changing circumstance and situations, to each training group’s different personal and professional experiences.

WORKSHOP C | Fundamental freedoms: considerations on how to achieve victim rights for a broad spectrum of victims

Led by Christina Woudhuizen, Slachtofferhulp.

Who is or is not a ‘victim’? Which organization is responsible for which victims and who has what to offer? What expertise and support is needed with particular victim groups?  What considerations should we make when a specific group of affected people presents with a need for support? When is our service of added value to them?

Victim Support Netherlands is familiar with several projects and pilots around victim groups that did not fall directly within the organizations target group policy. Think of whistleblowers, victims of violated boundaries in sports, survivors of fatal workplace accidents and victims of the Dutch childcare allowance affair.

In addition, Victim Support Netherlands focuses on bystanders, people who are close to the victims and want to help and professionals.

How do we reach and support all these people?

In this workshop, we will give an introduction to the Dutch target group policy and the (project-based) services provided to some special target groups. We also will discuss dilemmas, an assessment framework and preconditions for victim support services.

WORKSHOP D | “I could never have done it without you” – insights and inspiration for delivering victim/witness support in court as a fundamental part of justice

Led by Victim Support Sweden (as coordinator of the COVIS project consortium).

Victim Support Sweden is alongside five of our partner organisations leading the project COVIS – Court based support services for victims and witnesses of crime. The COVIS project aims to build knowledge and provide the tools needed to establish and deliver quality court based support services for victims and witnesses of crime, to meet the needs and rights of all victims/witnesses participating in criminal proceedings. By capturing expertise from across Europe and sharing best practice how to deliver court based support, the project serves to:

  1. Promote the rights of all victims of crime
  2. Improve application of victims´ rights and victims´ ability to access their rights in practice
  3. Better meet the needs of all victims and witnesses called to give evidence in a criminal trial, minimising the risk of secondary victimisation and empowering the victim/witness to overcome the negative consequence of crime
  4. Contribute to a safe environment in court, strengthening victims´ and witnesses´ ability to provide their best possible evidence, and thereby supporting the effective and fair administration of criminal justice
  5. Support the effective and coherent application of EU law in the area of the rights of victims of crime, in line with the EU strategy on victims´ rights (2020-2025)

Court based support has so far been a peripheral support method amid VSE events and members. In our side event, we would therefore like to emphasise the role and value of court based support services and the ways in which court based support can help victims access safe justice. The session will include a panel discussion, identifying the various ways in which court based support is organised across different EU countries. Key features of court based support will be highlighted and how countries have chosen to organise support in court to help ensure that victims/witnesses are able to give their best possible evidence. The session will also specifically highlight the role of witnesses, since they often play a key role for victims´ ability to reach justice, despite having few rights of their own. Finally, court based support services do not function in isolation – they are dependent on well-functioning partnerships and cooperation with criminal justice partners. Given the topic and target group of the conference, we therefore suggest that our side event also has a key focus on how to develop partnerships with criminal justice agencies and which practical working arrangements help to deliver the best possible support service in practice.

WORKSHOP E | CAW & Helpline 1712

Led by CAW / Helpline 1712.

More information will follow soon.

Workshop F | Victims of terrorism to highlight the specificity of Gender needs, and here trough also its impact on youth issues

Led by Phillipe Vansteenkiste (V-EUROPE) and Fatima Haider (The Grief Directory).

Fatima and Phillipe are both victims of terrorism (VoT) who have been working since many years to providing better understanding of the needs of VoT and implementing needed support.

They would like to bring forward their common expertise on victims of terrorism to highlight the specificity of Gender needs, and here trough also its impact on youth issues.

The goal of the workshop is to set out and explore the following:

  • Highlighting the importance of, strengthening and centralising the role of women who are victim of terrorism
  • Underscoring the situation and needed practices to improve and reform the existing support for the welfare of women victims of terrorism.
  • Exploring commonalities and paying attention to cultural specificity for  a central, more positive role of women in rehabilitating other women victims as well as other genders and vulnerable groups of victims of terrorism including youth and children.

Workshop G | Trauma Notification Teams

Led by Staci Beers (FBI).

More information will follow soon.