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VSE launches new Opinion section to elevate voices from our global victim support family

The last weeks of the year are always a time to reflect, take stock of the previous 12 months, celebrate the highs, learn from the lows, and get ready for the new year.

At VSE we have many new projects and initiatives on the docket for 2023. And you’ll learn all about them as those projects come to life throughout the year. But there is one action that we’d like to mention now. As the year draws to a close, we are launching a new ‘OPINION’ section on our website to give a platform to experts’ ideas and perspectives.

We want to create a dedicated space for unique, authentic voices of the global victim support family. The section publishes thoughtful, solutions-oriented reflections, commentary and dispatches written by experts — from victim support professionals to private sector innovators — across the world.

We’re interested in hearing stories featuring take-home messages, personal experiences, and calls to action. VSE is committed to presenting diverse voices in this section.

The first opinion pieces by three leaders sharing their insights on a range of important topics are publicised today. They are Colm Smyth, Frederico Marques and Andrea Walraven-Thissen. Each was chosen for their unique insight into their respective fields.

Do you have a story you want to share with us? Learn more about The VSE’s ‘Opinion’ section, including how to submit a guest essay for review and publication.

What is an opinion piece and how to submit it?

VSE’s Opinion pieces make an argument, delivered in the author’s own voice, based on fact and drawn from an author’s expertise or experience. The OPINION section aspires to be the destination for sharing compelling, first-hand accounts of overcoming challenges on the road to improving victims’ lives around the world.

One of the current major priorities of VSE is the advancement of a coherent national system of support which goes beyond the walls of conventional mechanisms and is based on cooperation and coordination between the different sectors and services working with victims of crime. This victim support mechanism includes:

  • a victim,
  • victim social support network (family, friends, community),
  • generic support,
  • specialist services,
  • societal services (education, medical, social services, etc),
  • private sector (new tech, CSR, support in the workplace, etc),
  • justice and law enforcement.

Thus, the content strategy of the ‘Opinion’ Section on the VSE website is set to publish guest essays coming from all above-mentioned 7 target audiences but not limited to those.

Definition and criteria for inclusion

  • An opinion piece is an external contribution which looks at a particular issue from a victims’ related perspective. An opinion piece appears on a homepage of our website and is written by a subject-matter expert, a person with a unique perspective on an issue. Opinion section features guest essays delivered in the author’s own voice, based on fact and drawn from an author’s expertise or experience.
  • An opinion piece often comes from the experts of one of the 7 above-mentioned target groups, but also from leading opinion makers, EU institutions, national ministers or members of parliament.
  • To qualify for publication, an opinion piece needs to take a stance on EU policy or victims’ relevant issue, often making recommendations on a particular matter.
  • Your piece can be funny or angry, indignant or perplexed, subversive or straightforward. Just make sure it suits your writing personality and that you keep it consistent.

Structure and publication

  • Opinion pieces should ideally be 500 words in length.
  • Submitted pieces feature a topical picture that illustrates the contents addressed in the piece with full indication of rights holders.
  • Opinion pieces should be submitted in English.

If you agree to the terms above, you’re encouraged to let us know if you want to contribute to the section several times per year or just once, and submit a piece to l.vandenheuvel@victimsupporteurope.eu

Please, include “Opinion Piece submission” in the subject line and attach the article and the illustrations to your email.