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Launch of Action Week 2023: 'Achieving Safe Justice for Victim of Crime' event

Victim Support Europe will commemorate the European Day for Victims of Crime on Monday, 20 February 2023 with an in-person event ‘Achieving Safe Justice for Victims of Crime’ at The Press Club Brussels Europe. The event, which will take place from 14:00 to 16:00 (CET), will simultaneously be broadcast live on the Brussels Press Club TV.

On this year’s Day for Victims of Crime, we call on all of you to fight for progress, to support improvements in European and national laws, and above all to make sure those laws truly help all victims of crime, no matter the crime, no matter the victim.

With the upcoming review of the 2012 Victims’ Rights Directive, the EU legislation governing the rights and services for all victims of crime, 2023 presents us with an opportunity to really make a difference to the lives of victims.

The theme for this year is “Achieving Safe Justice for Victims of Crime”. Up till now, victims have often been adversely affected on their journey for justice. VSE believes that, when evaluating whether justice has been served, one should not only focus on the efficiency and availability of fair trial rights but should rather see the process from the perspective of the victims and their well-being and safety during the legal proceedings.



Our event on 20 February gives victims an opportunity to share their personal stories and experiences of justice systems. It will open with a victim of 2016 Brussels Terrorist Attacks sharing his interaction with the Belgian criminal justice system and his vision for such systems to provide more supportive and victim-sensitive responses.

VSE will then launch its discussion paper on “Safe Justice for Victims of a Crime”, introducing an innovative vision on the concept of safe justice. The programme will feature European policy makers, victim support workers, law enforcement officers, judges, and EU NGO representatives sharing their views on the meaning of safe justice for victims and on the requirements for successful criminal justice systems.



Please find the event’s programme below.

Time Topic
14:00 – 14:25


Welcoming words

  • Richard Sonnenschein | Director for DG Criminal Justice, European Commission
  • José Antonio Moreno Díaz | Legal Advisor on Immigration, Asylum & Integration Issues, European Economic and Social Committee
  • Petra Klein | Vice-President, Victim Support Europe
14:25 – 14:40


Live Testimony Victims’ Advocate

  • Philippe Vansteenkiste | Director, V-Europe
14:40 – 14:55 Launch of the VSE’s discussion paper ‘Safe Justice for Victims of Crime’

  • Levent Altan | Executive Director, Victim Support Europe
14:55 – 15:55 Debate: ‘What is required to make our criminal justice systems truly effective?”

  • Moderator: Rosa Jansen | President, Victim Support Europe

Panel speakers:

  • Joan Deane | Founder and Vice Chairperson, AdVIC (Advocates for Victims of Homicide)
  • Akram Kubanychbekov | Senior Advocacy Officer, ILGA-Europe
  • Philippe Vansteenkiste | Director, V-Europe
15:55 – 16:00 Closing remarks

  • Jérôme Moreau | Vice-President, Victim Support Europe
16:00 – 17:30 Networking drink



The event will take place on Monday 20 February 2023, from 14:00 and 16:00 pm CET. You are welcome from 13:30 pm onwards. We kindly invite you to join the networking drinks after the event, from 16:00 – 17:30 pm CET.

The Press Club Brussels
Rue Froissart 95
1040 Brussels

Why VSE Action Week 2023?

An estimated 75 million people across Europe are victims of crime. While access to justice should be a given, that’s sadly more the exception than the norm. Whether in Europe or anywhere else, the structures designed to protect us are often the ones that fail us. Victims of crime struggle through the proverbial due process. Why the law adds to their trauma is beyond anyone’s understanding. Most victims of crime have their fundamental rights denied when reporting incidents. In addition, victim shaming is pervasive. So much so that many simply choose not to come forward. And there’s the crippling fear of retaliation that prevents many from seeking justice. 

European Day for Victims of Crime aims to change this. Our task is to improve the service and support that victims receive from the point at which a crime is reported right through to their experience in the courtroom. The European Day for Victims of Crime gives us the push we need to ensure that the justice system doesn’t inflict more trauma on people already suffering. 

With the launch of the new discussion paper and the implementation of its recommendations into national contexts VSE hopes to make it easier for everyone to access the justice system through support, information, and protection. 

The Action Week seeks views on:

  • How to give victims a more powerful voice at every stage of the criminal justice system?
  • How to increase transparency and redress in respect of the support that victims receive in practice?
  • How to ensure that every criminal justice agency is properly held to account for its role in the wider system?
  • How to better protect victims, especially victims of rape and sexual violence, to give them greater confidence about giving the testimony that can help to secure a conviction.

The major takeaways from this Action Week can stand as a basis for a careful rethinking, at national and EU-level, of what should the EU do to improve justice services to protect victims of crime.

Who is conducting the campaign?

Victim Support Europe (VSE), the leading European umbrella organisation advocating on behalf of all victims of crime, has developed the ​Safe Justice for Victims – VSE Action Week 2023.

We have partnered with civil society organisations, various project participants, member organisations and experts in the field of victims’ rights to spread the word about the campaign and share victims’ experiences from different groups in society.

If you have any further question or you would like to contribute to the ​Safe Justice for Victims – VSE Action Week 2023, you can contact: Lieselotte Van Den Heuvel,

Event pictures

Get involved in the campaign!

Are you joining our campaign? You can find the campaign guideline and assets below.











DISCLAIMER: The contents of this publication are the sole responsibility of Victim Support Europe and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of the European Union.

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