Olga Kostina: Victim Support Russia is very committed to supporting and empowering victims and dedicated to improving the service we provide to victims of crime. Joining VSE board will give me the chance to learn from top victim support professionals, as well as the opportunity to share my knowledge and experiences with other board members. I’m excited to see VSE continue to move forward and expand internationally, and I want to make a meaningful contribution to that development and growth.
VSE: What are the main expertise you would expect to contribute to the VSE Board?
Olga Kostina: Since all VSE board members come from different backgrounds and experience, I hope that we will be able to augment each other’s knowledge and expertise and impact each other’s work in a way that would be beneficial to the organization and its mission. As a journalist by profession and a human rights activist both by need and by choice, I have good expertise in liaising with legislators and government officials as well as in planning and implementation of various victim support projects and programs, including nationwide surveys and campaigns.
VSE: As our board member, what will you be focusing in your upcoming 3 year term?
Olga Kostina: As a board member, I plan to focus on two main goals: to understand and take into account the interests of VSE members to ensure that communications between VSE and its member organisations are effective; and to strengthen cooperation and develop stronger working ties between all VSE member organisations, including Victim Support Russia. As for the specific projects, I would like to concentrate on the issue of protection for vulnerable victims, including domestic violence.
VSE: Are there any specific things you’ve done in the last two years regarding strengthening the rights and services for victims of crime in your country/in Europe?
Olga Kostina: In the past two years we have launched several projects aimed at strengthening and expanding crime victims’ rights, including developing and conducting the first ever national victimization survey, which has produced valuable scientific and practical results; providing legal assistance to and support for elderly victims of crime and violence (we plan to continue and expand this project and its reach); cooperating with the Academy of Management of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Russian Federation to integrate victim assistance into broader national policies and legal frameworks.