Our Policy

Victim Support Europe actively engages and influences in the development of European public policy to highlight the needs of victims and those affected by crime, as well as to strengthen victims’ rights and protection in the aftermath of a crime.

Victim Support Europe represents all victims of all crime, no matter who the victim is and what the crime is. Each year, we prioritise certain groups of victims, in 2022 and 2023, VSE will focus on:

  • Victims of Gender-based Violence
  • Victims of Human Trafficking
  • Child victims of Sexual Abuse and Exploitation
  • Victims of Hate Crime
  • Victims of Terrorism

VSE Strategy for 2021-2025

Our vision is to have a Europe in a world where the needs of all victims of crime are fully met through effective rights and high quality services. To achieve this vision, VSE’s mission is to drive change on victims’ issues and support of the delivery of victims’ services whilst operating sustainably and growing our capability.

Towards the near future, in 2021 to 2025, VSE will promote the following strategic priorities:

1. Promote implementation and strengthening of victims’ rights:

Full implementation of Victims’ Rights Directive:

  1. Develop new initiatives assessing the implementation of the Directive and consistent for responsibility of the instances of non implementation.
  2. Provide support and advice to our members and other actors on how to implement the Directive
  3. Work with the European Union to develop an environment where the full implementation of the Directive is a priority for the EU and Member States.

Making sure that victims rights are taken into account in law and policies:

  1. Ensure that victims’ rights are mainstreamed into legislative and policy initiatives across the board.
  2. Develop policy makers’, legislators’ and other stakeholders’ sensitivity to victims’ issues.
  3. Ensure that there are mainstreaming and coordination
    infrastructures within institutions.

2. Ensure victims are recognised, treated with respect and protected from secondary victimisation

Recognition of all victims:

  1. Empower victims to report crime, improve the identification of victims and their ability to come forward.
  2. Support action to identify which serious crimes are not fully recognised and criminalised across Europe and promote action to ensure a harmonious approach. Support the European Commission in its work in this field.
  3. Act to ensure victims are fully of informed of their rights and services, and can access them.
  4. Train professionals in different fields to be able to recognise victimisation and respond to it.

Ensure respect and fight against secondary victimisation:

  1. Improve the understanding of society and professionals of foundational victim issues including – the causes of crime, the impact of crime on victims, the problems they face, how victims may react, how to help victims.
  2. Improve the way that individuals react to victims, talk to and about victims and ensure a victim centric engagement with victims.
  3. Act to reduce secondary victimisation and its causes in law enforcement and justice.

3. Promote the rights, resilience and recovery of victims, and strengthen victim support

Develop resilient societies:

  1. Develop a resiliency framework for victims and wider society
  2. Work towards introducing resiliency education in schools

Mainstream victims support in all spheres of society:

  1. Work with employers, educators and health workers towards recognising signs of victimisation and respecting the victim.
  2. Ensure that all actors understand how to respond to victimisation and how to ensure support for victims.
  3. Work to ensure that victims’ issues are incorporated in EU and international policies, legislation and action.
  4. Provide training to diverse groups on elements of victimisation and victim support.

4. Facilitate full access to support for victims within a national framework

Ensuring access to existing services:

  1. Develop a better knowledge of what constitutes high quality victim support and push for this to be the recognised standard for implementation
  2. Support the strengthening of high quality victim services (generic and specialist) across Europe.
  3. Promote support of victims across all social settings – in particular in education, in the work place, and in organisations or institutions which have more frequent contact with victims.
  4. Improve access to support for cross border victims

Developing new support services:

  1. Establish new support services in countries which don’t have them
  2. Develop a psychological first aid programme for use by members of the public
  3. Advocate for the establishment of 116 006 helplines across all EU and national helplines across Europe.
  4. Support the running of distance support services including exploring options regarding online, self-service and AI run systems.
  5. Establish VSE actions useful to victims – information, apps etc.
    NB: these are static style services primarily focused around information and connection to others.

5. Work towards victim-centred justice and compensation systems

Victim-centred justice systems:

  1. Pursue full implementation of measures to protect victims from secondary victimisation in criminal proceedings – focusing both on behaviours, rules and infrastructure
  2. Promote the implementation of international best practices on protection measures for victims
  3. Promote and facilitate victims’ central role in criminal proceedings
  4. Develop stronger victims’ rights in non-criminal judicial proceedings – civil, administrative etc.

Victim-centred compensation schemes:

  1. Promote reform of state and offender compensation schemes to improve access, treatment and positive outcomes for applicants.
  2. Ensure that compensation is awarded without the need for victim to pursue first a direct civil compensation claim against the offender.

6. Grow and strengthen VSE

Grow VSE:

  1. Continue to grow VSE’s budget and staff to deliver its priorities
  2. Develop specialised units in VSE office to improve the development and delivery of its work
  3. Increase the use of members’ knowledge and that of external partners through new co-operation structures
  4. Grow VSE membership and networks

Strengthen VSE:

  1. Develop new income streams to improve financial stability and to grow the organisation.
  2. Assist members to strengthen their own activities
Download VSE strategy 2021-2025

VSE Strategy for 2016-2020

Our path to achieving our vision and mission will be guided by eight core objectives together with specific tasks which are established under each of three pillars of our mission – to drive change, support service delivery and operate sustainably whilst growing capability.

Under our mission to DRIVE CHANGE, we will

1. Advance Improvements in Laws and Policies by:

  • Representing the collective interests of members and increasing influence
  • Evaluating the fitness for purpose of key existing laws and policies based on the collective view
  • Starting to develop solutions to identified gaps and issues
  • Advocating to adopt these solutions

Our objective is to ensure that European and international norms are fit for purpose – that gaps and weaknesses are properly identified and that effective, efficient and feasible laws and policies are developed.

2. Pursue Compliance With Existing Laws and Policies by:

  • Working to identify and assess areas of non-compliance and the impact caused
  • Encouraging compliance through the gathering and provision of information and advice
  • Supporting enforcement through evidence provision

It is not enough for laws and policies to be adopted. They must result in real rights, which are available and accessible to victims. Our objective is to ensure we understand whether victims’ rights are available in practice and, where they are not, to support implementation and enforcement of those rights.

3. Raise Awaireness of Victims' Issues and Our Work by:

  • Developing communication and engagement capability
  • Developing effective media products
  • Capturing and sharing the victim experience

Our objective is to maximise the use of technologies and communication tools that exist in our societies today to improve how we tell victims’ stories, to explain their needs and to exercise their existing rights. Our aim is for our messages to be heard as widely as possible and for victims to be a part of that process.

Under our mission to SUPPORT SERVICE DELIVERY, we will

4. Enable Improvements in the Quality and Accessibility of Services by:

  • Identifying current and future unmet needs and begin analysis of key areas
  • Facilitating members’ gathering and exchange of knowledge
  • Developing information, advice and products to support members
  • Reviewing and working towards common quality standards

We will use VSE’s access to European and global knowledge on effective practices and bring this knowledge together in the most relevant and usable form for national organisations.

5. Support Co-Ordination and Delivery of Coherent Support Services by:

Promoting removal of barriers for victims in cross-border situations
Enabling members to act in unison to respond to a cross border crime
Whenever a crime involves a cross border element – whether a person is victimised abroad, a criminal is abroad and victimises the victim in their home country, or the criminal is arrested abroad, victims and those serving victims face a range of additional problems. Our objective is to identify the problems faced by victims and develop practical and legal solutions which can be adopted by governments, governmental authorities and by organisations assisting victims.

Under our mission to OPERATE SUSTAINABLY WHILST GROWING CAPABILITY, we will

6. Strenghten VSE Collective Capability by:

  • Collaborating and developing effective partnerships
  • Bringing members together to increase their individual and collective influence
  • Facilitating members’ exchange of business knowledge
  • Creating opportunities to gain cost efficiency for members
  • Promoting volunteering
  • Recruiting and widening VSE membership

VSE is best able to achieve its Vision by working in partnership with others and strengthening the collective capability of its membership. This means developing VSE policies based on that collective knowledge and bringing members together to increase their ability to deliver for victims at the national level.

7. Invest in VSE Infrastructure by:

  • Establishing an effective governance system
  • Creating and maintaining an effective operating environment
  • Developing an efficient , capable and highly motivated workforce
  • Maintaining an optimised information architecture
  • Strengthening the VSE brand

VSE’s ambitious mission will only succeed if we have the right infrastructure. VSE will develop its internal governance structures, staffing and information systems alongside and in anticipation of growth, to ensure those structures support and enhance the delivery of all other objectives.

8. Enhance Financial Resilience by:

  • Diversifying income streams
  • Ensuring resources are managed efficiently and effectively
  • Fundraising
  • Exploring and protecting commercial and intellectual property opportunities
  • Delivering products and services

VSE’s growth is contingent on developing and broadening our income streams to reduce risks to the organisation whilst increasing the type of activities VSE can engage in and the geographical scope of those activities.

To access the full document of Victim Support Europe Strategy just follow the link.

Download VSE strategy 2016-2020

Our Strategy for 2012-2015

The strategic priorities of Victim Support Europe to 2012-2015 are to:

Promote and coordinate the development of quality services for victims of crime throughout Europe

Victim Support Europe aims to assist the development of victim support services in all European countries. We exchange experiences, best practice and information between our member organisations in order to improve the quality of service delivery to victims of crime.

Furthermore, Victim Support Europe coordinates cross-border referrals between our member organisations, to ensure that victims are able to access support services in their own countries, regardless of where the crime took place.

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Our Constitution

Victim Support Europe’s constitution can be found here.