In a joint statement, Victim Support Europe and 40 victims support organisations call on the EU to take action to ensure that all victims of crime can access support and information by implementing and supporting 116 006 helpline in all EU Member States
Joint Statement by Victim Support Europe and its members on 116 006, the European victim support line
116 006 has been a dedicated European helpline for victims of crime since November 2009. However, almost 15 years later, this number is only in use in 13 countries.
We need your help – victims need your help – to ensure 116 006 is available in every EU Member State! No victim should be forgotten about or left behind. The number is easy to remember, and allows all EU citizens at home or abroad to quickly reach help after a crime.
All victims of crime must have access to this helpline; without access to 116 006, tens of thousands of victims feel alone and unheard, unable to take that first step towards recovery and justice. Where helplines are available, demand for assistance is huge: 63.330 calls in the Netherlands, 41.630 in France and 20,882 in Germany in 2022. Thanks to the trained call handlers, thousands of European citizens, who have fallen victim to crime, have been able to receive information and support when they’ve needed it most.
However, some victims have difficulty getting someone to listen to them and helpline call handlers are often the only people victims speak to after a traumatic event. Thus, 116 006 helplines, run primarily by NGOs which provide victim support services, are key to ensuring victims receive appropriate information and support, and that they are referred to the services they need most.
In 2022, EU Commissioner for Justice Didier Reynders and Eric Dupond-Moretti, Keeper of the Seals, French Minister for Justice called on all EU Member States “to make use of the 116 006 helpline for the benefit of their citizens, in the conviction that it is a necessary tool for providing information and care to victims.”.
Since then, no further 116 006 helpline have been made available in EU Member States. Neither Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia nor Spain offer their citizens a 116 006 helpline. If a missing children’s helpline – 116 000 – is available in every country, why is there not a helpline for victims of crime?
Through amendments to the EU Victims Directive, we call on the European Commission, Council and Parliament to make the 116 006 helpline a requirement in all EU States, and to support Member States through EU funding, following the approach for the missing children helplines. Proper funding for new and existing helplines is essential. Increases in helpline funding see an immediate increase in helpline use.
We call on all EU Member States to help victim support organisations to set up 116 006 helplines for all victims of crime.
Time is of the essence – 4000 homicides, around 200,000 sexual violence crimes, more than 600,000 assaults – take place each and every year, and the list of other crimes is much longer. 15% of Member State populations become victims every year: these are people you know – family, friends, colleagues.
Without your help, many victims will struggle to find support and recovery. Join us in demanding action from the EU and Member States. To fail to do so, is to fail victims.
For Member States:
- Fully and effectively implement the EU Victims’ Rights Directive
- Support organisations in establishing and running the 116 006helpline, including through initial and long-term operating funding and awareness raising;
- Ensure organisations specialised in victim support run 116 006 helplines;
- Reduce bureaucratic red tape to facilitate set up and operation service of 116 006 helpline.
For the EU:
- Support the publication of a revised and strengthened Victims’ Rights Directive;
- Encourage Member States to support organisations to implement and run the 116 006 helplines;
- Provide EU funding for the setting up and running of 116 006 helplines;
- Ensure services are provided following recognised quality standards.
List of signatories:
- AdVIC (Advocates for Victims of Homicide)
- Arbeitskreis der Opferhilfen
- Associação Portuguesa de Apoio à Vítima (APAV)
- Association for the Prevention and Handling of Violence in the Family (APHVF)
- Bijeli krug Hrvatske (White Circle Croatia)
- Bílý kruh bezpečí
- Brottsofferjouren Sverige (Victim Support Sweden)
- Center for Legal Civic Initiatives
- Centra Algemeen Welzijnswerk (CAW)
- Child Rights Centre Albania (CRCA/ECPAT Albania)
- Crime Victims Helpline
- Estonian Social Insurance Board
- European Federation of Road Traffic Victims (FEVR)
- Federation for Victim Assistance
- Fehér Gyűrű
- France Victimes
- Human Rights in Democracy Centre – Albania
- International Road Victims’ Partnership
- Irish Road Victims’ Association
- Irish Tourist Assistance Service (ITAS)
- Klaipeda Social and Psychological Support Centre
- Law and Internet Foundation
- Libra Onlus
- Manus Legis
- Offerrådgivningen i Danmark
- Rete Dafne Italia
- RIKU – Victim Support Finland
- Slachtofferhulp Nederland
- Victim and Witness Support Service Croatia
- Victim Support at Court
- Victim Support Europe
- Victim Support Malta
- Victim Support Northern Ireland
- Victim Support Switzerland
- Weisser Ring Austria
- Weisser Ring Germany
- Women’s Room