Join Victim Support Europe’s Annual Autumn Conference ‘Safe Justice for Victims: Transforming Justice Systems/Future Trends’ which will take place at Martin’s Château du Lac in Genval, Belgium, on 3 December 2021!

The Conference is an international event bringing together the key players working with victims of crime. Between 100 and 150 participants from victim support organisations as well as practitioners, researchers, experts, academics, government officials and criminal justice officials attend annually.

In 2021, the event will be held physically again, on a short distance from the centre of Brussels, in stunning surroundings, on the banks of a peaceful lake in the heart of Walloon Brabant.

The theme of this year’s edition is ‘Safe Justice for Victims’ which will be the opportunity to discuss the current state of practice of criminal justice system, thereby raising awareness on safe reporting as the first step in seeking justice and addressing the question on what makes the criminal justice system safe for victims? This will be followed by an intellectual discussion on better path forward for criminal justice.

We are truly looking forward to coming together again with all VSE members, partners and friends on 3 December 2021!

The conference is free to attend, but places are limited so make sure to register.

Please find the registration link here.


Event Venue: Martin’s Chateau du Lac
Address: Av. du Lac 87, 1332 Genval

Venue's Presentation

The physical Venue of the MIC Conference 2021 will be Martin’s Château du Lac, a Belgian 5-star luxury hotel, nestled at the edge of the 44-acre Genval Lake, just 20 minutes from Brussels. In 2012, Château du Lac was awarded the EMAS and the ISO 14001 quality certificates for its progressive environmental management. The hotel features allergy-free rooms, complimentary parking and a swimming pool.

The key to Martin’s brand image is a great respect for heritage. Nearly every Martin’s hotel, villa, and restaurant has been built on sites with history and, often, drama. In 1904 a Spa Resort was built in Genval, later to become Schweppes’ first soft drink factory in Europe before being transformed into the Château Du Lac.

There are 4 parts to the history of John Martin’s group for as many generations as this British family has been residing in Belgium.

It all started in 1909 when the founder, John Vincent Bathyany Martin, had a disagreement with his father over the use of steam engines to power their naval fleet. The confrontation led the youngster (24) to leave London for Antwerp, one of the major ports on the continent at that time.John began to trade spirits from eastern Europe as well as developing his own lemonade brand “GLOBE” with fruits he imported directly from Sicily.  Given the nature of his family’s business, John was fluent in many languages including French, Italian, Norwegian, Russian, Turkish and the local dialect of the city he was living in (Flemish- a Dutch dialect spoken in the northern part of Belgium and France).

In 1910, using his British connections, he managed to become the official importer and distributor of “Schweppes” in Belgium. Two years later he would land one of the major distributing contracts that would change the fate of the family for over a century: the Guinness deal.  John managed to become the exclusive distributor of the Irish Stout and he created a new company called “Martin & Co.” headquartered in Antwerp.  Since then, various innovations led to the family business to grow quasi exponentially (today the Martin family is the oldest surviving Guinness distributor in the world!). Learn more here.

The city centre of Genval is 2 km from the venue which is situated in a shopping area. An exceptional location of the accommodation offers proximity to Musee de l’Eau et de la Fontaine Science Museum.

The hotel has 121 rooms equipped with WiFi, cable satellite TV and smoke detectors. Nice touches to enhance your stay include a shower, a tub and dressing gowns.

There is a restaurant for guests to enjoy their meal. Genval Les Bains Restaurant is open for French dinner. A poolside bar is available on site. Guests of this exclusive accommodation are welcomed to come and relax in an anti-ageing therapy, a Turkish steam bath and sauna facilities. Sports lovers will enjoy tennis, kayaking, golf and fisheries.

Venue's Services & Commodities

Fitness & thermal baths (wet area)

Weekdays: from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Weekends and public holidays: from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Admission fee per adult and per stay: 30 euros



Monday to Sunday: from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Wednesday & Thursday: from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Conference Programme

Conference Programme Outline
09:00 – 17:45

09:00 – 10:00 Registration

10:00 – 10:35 Welcome and Intros

10:35 – 12:00 Session 1: Safe reporting as the first step in seeking justice

10:35 – 10:55 Defining ‘Safe justice for victims’

  • Levent Altan, Executive Director, Victim Support Europe

10:55 – 11:15 How to ensure safe reporting for migrant victims of sexual violence? A framework for policy and practice

  • Nikolett Szelei, Researcher, Ghent University

11:15 – 11:35 Low crime reporting as a barrier victims face accessing help

  • Aleš Gião Hanek, Hate Crime Officer, OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights

11:35 – 11:55   Achieving Best Evidence in Criminal Proceedings

12:00 – 12:30 Coffee Break

12:30 – 13:30 Session 2: What makes the criminal justice system safe for victims? (PART 1)

12:30 – 12:50 A critical break down of EU justice systems

  • Suzan van der Aa, Professor in Criminal Law and Criminal Procedure, Maastricht University

12:50 – 13:30 Modernising courts to get people through the justice system safer (Panel discussion)

13:30 – 14:30 Lunch

14:30 – 16:10 Session 2: What makes the criminal justice system safe for victims? (PART 2)

14:30 – 15:00 Effective communication and information sharing mechanisms within criminal justice system (Panel discussion)

15:00 – 15:20 Making the criminal justice system more responsive to victims: tailored approaches for victims with specialist needs and experiences

  • Pauline Okroglic, Legal Officer in Victim Support and European Affairs, France Victimes

15:20 – 15:40 Multiagency: Coordination to provide safe justice

  • Jérôme Moreau, Porte-Parole at France Victimes and President of France Victimes 58 – Andavi (department Nièvre)

15:40 – 16:10 The importance of training of European judiciary on safe justice (Panel discussion)

16:10 – 16:30 Coffee Break

16:30 – 17:30 Session 3: Live debate “What can we do to make the criminal justice system work better?”

17:30 – 17:45 Closing remarks