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Acting for victims, benefitting everyone

The BeneVict project is dedicated to developing evidence base for advancing rights of victims of crime and influencing the future of victims’ rights in the EU as well as enabling a broad pan-EU partnership to raise to the challenge of improving victims’ realities across the EU.

Since 2012, the EU Member States were expected to implement Victims’ Rights Directive and continue developing services for victims of crimes. Since 2016, infringement proceedings against 21 Member States have been instigated for the failure to transpose the Directive. In most MSs, victims’ experiences still need a lot of improvement. There is still very limited evidence that can help us to understand the basic elements of victimisation: its scope, impacts, costs and benefits of victim support. In 2019, the VOCIARE project, managed by VSE, identified a number of issues in the practical implementation of the Victims’ Rights Directive. Building on the challenges identified in the VOCIARE project and expanding its objectives far beyond addressing them, the BeneVict project aims to support the European Commission in its implementation of the Victims’ Rights Strategy 2020-2025 and the crafting of the future of victims’ rights in the EU.

A rapid 26-country practical implementation analysis will contribute to the understanding of what type of future action is needed to improve implementation of victims’ rights – be it an amendment to the Victims’ Rights Directive, a new legislative instrument at the EU or the MS level, a policy initiative, or other appropriate type of action. The project intends to gather evidence base regarding the implementation of the Victims’ Rights Directive across the EU and also try to identify the type of evidence that is not being collected, although it should be. Achieving this objective will serve to inform and influence the forthcoming EU and MSs legislative and policy action in the field of victims’ rights. In addition, through a gap analysis, the project will also enable an understanding for the stakeholders, including the EU, Member States, and professionals, regarding the evidence base that is needed, but is not available, to better understand the issues of victimisation, victim support and the implementation of victims’ rights.

Finally, for the first time ever in the EU, the project will quantify benefits of victim support in four selected MSs, in an effort to look into the cost of victimisation and develop an argument for an investment into victim support. BeneVict project is built as a pan-EU collaborative effort, bringing together experts from 26 countries, to promote collaboration and emphasise that shared values are best reaffirmed through joint initiatives.

If you have any project-related questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to Maria Georgiou at m.georgiou@victimsupporteurope.eu or Oleksandra Boychenko at vse@victimsupporteurope.eu

Objectives of the project

In its entirety, the project will support the global need to have valid and evidence-based argument for the advancement of victims’ rights across the EU and is, as such a much needed endeavour to advance the rights of millions of European victims. As such, it will ultimately serve a number of specific purposes, including:

  • Supporting the EU and MSs in their future action on common values and implementation of the EU Victims’ Rights Strategy
  • Supporting MSs in the development of their own national strategies
  • Supporting VSE and our EU based members, partners and collaborators in advancing rights of victims
  • Delivering methodological tools for future shared initiatives – including implementation assessments, data collection,
  • Developing an argument to advance the benefits of victim support and justify investment into further services.

Project methodology will be developed to capture, as much as possible, the gender perspectives and perspectives of other vulnerable victims, in particular groups identified by the VRD itself – children, victims of terrorism, hate crimes, victims with disabilities etc. Whenever possible, disaggregated data will be demanded. Review of data collection practices will, in particular, aim to look into the availability of data that can help identify and/or address the issues of gender equality and victim vulnerabilities.

Activities under the project

The BeneVict project will:

  • Rapidly assess the current state of play in the practical implementation of the Victims’ Rights Directive across the EU-26
  • Identify data collection practices in Member States
  • Develop a methodology for the Victims’ Rights Index
  • Quantify cost of victimisation in four selected Member States – Estonia, the Netherlands, Portugal and Sweden
  • Identify and quantify benefits of victim support in Estonia, the Netherlands, Portugal and Sweden
  • Propose recommendations for further investment in victim support
  • Identify lacunas in the knowledge and skills of stakeholders – victim support professionals, law enforcement, justice etc.
  • Inform the upcoming EU and Member States action in the field of victims’ rights
  • Build an approach to using research results to build effective engagement with stakeholders
  • Increase the capacity of stakeholders to respond to victims’ needs Raise awareness about project objectives and disseminate project results

Expected outcomes

The BeneVict project is quite unprecedented in its ambition and desired impact. Its deliverables are carefully crafted to, in the short term:

  • Report on the state of play regarding the practical implementation of the VRD
  • Inform the EU and MSs legislators and policy makers about the best way forward in the development of the imminent victims’ rights legislation;
  • Build capacity of professionals to deliver better legislation and policy for victims of crimes

Ultimately, the project is intended to advance the rights of European victims and their family members and the European societies as a whole. In particular, the project will aim to build into its methodology elements of inequalities, based on gender and other criteria – e.g., sexual orientation, race, residence status, etc. and in general, aim to reflect on issues of vulnerable victims. The lack of data that enables such findings will also be a finding in itself, and hence recommendations will be offered to rectify practices which enable analysis of crime impact on certain groups of victims.

In the mid- term, the project intends to keep in check the performance of Member States in the sphere of victims’ rights through developing and applying the victims’ rights index. This index will help conduct future rapid assessment of victims’ rights performance. Moreover, also in the mid-term, the project results will continue influencing EU and MS policies and legislation relevant for victims and victimisation and help develop better tools to deal with these phenomena. Our innovative methodologies will suggest, for the first time, delivery of comprehensive analysis of benefits of spending on victim support and have the ambition to encourage more streamlined and ring-fenced expenditure on victim support.

In the mid-long-term, the project will, through contributing to improvement of policies and legislation and investment in victim support, improve implementation of VRD and other relevant legislation and bring to a change in victims’ experiences, hopefully reducing consequences and global impact of victimisation in the EU.

Kick off meeting

DISCLAIMER: Co-funded by the European Union. Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or the European Commission. Neither the European Union nor the granting authority can be held responsible for them.