In the past years, terrorism continued to constitute a major threat to security in the European Union. The European Commission is committed to ensuring that victims of terrorism can fully rely on their rights independently where in the EU the terrorist attack takes place. The EU has adopted a solid set of rules on victims’ rights including particular provisions on rights of victims of terrorism that respond more directly to their specific needs. In this regard, a good preparation on how to deal with victims of terrorism before any attack takes place is of vital importance.
What is the EU Centre of expertise for victims of terrorism?
The European Commission set up the EU Centre of expertise for victims of terrorism (the EU Centre or EUCVT) in January 2020 to offer expertise, guidance and support to national authorities and victim support organisations.
The EU Centre will help to ensure that the EU rules on victims of terrorism are correctly applied. It will promote the exchange of best practices and sharing of expertise among the practitioners and specialists across borders. It will not provide for direct help and assistance to particular victims of terrorism, but it will help to ensure that national structures offer professional assistance and support to victims of terrorism in every EU country.
The EU Centre is a pilot project that will last for two years.
Who is involved?
The EUCVT is set up and run by the European Commission. The tasks of the EU Centre are executed by a consortium led by Victim Support Europe and include ARQ National Psychotrauma Centre, Association française des Victimes du Terrorisme and Fondation Lenval.
In delivering its work, the EUCVT is advised by the Executive Committee and the Advisory Panel. The Executive Committee of the EUCVT is chaired by EU Victims’ Rights’ Coordinator of the European Commission (DG JUST), with members representing Victim Support Europe, European Network on Victims’ Rights, European Commission, DG HOME) and V-Europe. The EUCVT Advisory Panel consists of experts in the field of victims of terrorism from the EU and beyond.
What does the EU Centre do?
- Training and handbooks
On 18 January 2021, the Commission published the EU Handbook on Victims of Terrorism produced by the EU Centre of Expertise for Victims of Terrorism. The EU Handbook aims to assist in the practical implementation of the EU legislation, based on lessons learned from responses to previous terrorist attacks. The Handbook is accompanied by a separate Annex.
In February 2021, the EU Centre provided a training of trainers to 80 participants, coming from 25 EU Member States. Upon completion of this training, the participants became EUCVT Training Officers.
The EUCVT Training Officers are currently supporting the EU Centre in the development of national handbook and trainings. National trainings will be delivered to national stakeholders in the period June-September 2021. National handbooks will be available to the public from September 2021 onwards.
The objective of the trainings is to ensure that staff specifically trained on the needs and rights of victims of terrorism is available in each Member State. Following the online training, the staff will be also equipped with the necessary skills to share the know-how at the local level.
- Lists of Experts
The EU Centre has set up a database with information on experts in different fields like:
– List of Psycho-trauma Experts: Psycho-trauma experts specifically trained to deal with post-traumatic syndromes characteristic to victims of terrorism;
– General List of Experts: Psychologists, lawyers, victim support organisations and first responders.
- Hub of expertise
In March 2021, the Centre launched its online Hub of Expertise.
This Hub of Expertise allows national authorities and victim support organisations in the Member States to exchange knowledge and experience on the rights and needs of victims of terrorism. The Hub also promotes a better flow of information across borders and contributes to the creation of effective response structures for victims of terrorism in general and cross-border terrorism victims in particular.
Access to the Hub is currently restricted to experts that are a part of the General Experts list and list of Psycho–trauma Experts, EUCVT training officers, which are in charge of delivering the national trainings for the Centre, and stakeholders of the Centre (including the members of the EUCVT Executive Committee and Advisory Panel).
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