Call for implementation and funding of 116 006 helplines in all EU countries

By February 22, 2022 February 23rd, 2022 News

VSE welcomes the statement by Didier Reynders, EU Commissioner for Justice, and Eric Dupont-Moretti, Keeper of the Seals, French Minister for Justice, concerning the European 116 006 victim support helpline.

Helplines are an essential first point of contact for victims and are a means of support. They allow victims receive free information and support in a confidential, safe manner. Yet, to achieve such support for all victims of crime, it is crucial to establish 116006 helplines throughout all EU Member States.

“In the European Union, we have a strong framework for victims’ rights. However, it is important that all victims are able to benefit fully from the support available to them. The 116 006 helpline is a useful support tool in this regard. It should become a reference throughout Europe. I join Eric Dupond-Moretti in encouraging all Member States to adopt this number,” said Didier Reynders, the Commissioner for Justice.

To date, the European-wide 116 006 helpline  has been successfully implemented in 13 EU Member States. VSE is proud to have 13 of its member organisations running such helplines in their countries; while VSE’s Centre of Excellence brings these members together more needs to be done. The 116 006 helpline, run by victim support services, should be operational in all 27 EU Member States. VSE calls on all EU Member States to implement the helpline number to ensure that all victims have access to support.

Specific funding, both national and European, must be allocated to enable organisations set up and run national 116 006 victim helplines. VSE calls on the European Parliament to fund future pilot projects with the intention of supporting the initiation and operation of helplines in all EU Member States. Now is the time to ensure victims’ rights are a reality; now is the time to ensure there is a 116 006 helpline in every EU country.

VSE Recommendations:

For all EU Member States:

  • Provide funds to cover initial helpline set up and long-term operating costs, and to ensure victims’ calls are free of charge;
  • Assist organisations to establish the helpline, Government intervention with telecom providers should be foreseen;
  • Reduce bureaucratic red tape to facilitate the initiation and operation of services;
  • Ensure specialist victim support organisations manage 116 006 helplines.

For the EU:

  • Provide EU funding for the setting up and running of 116 006 helplines;
  • Require the obligation for functional 116 006 helplines in all EU Member States to be included in the Victims’ Rights Directive;
  • Legislation, Resolutions and Communications of the European Union, the European Commission and the European Parliament calling on Member States to establish helplines and setting out minimum requirements.

Learn more from VSE’s Position Paper ‘Establishing 116006 helplines for victims of crime across the EU’.