Standards and Accreditation

Victim Support Europe has developed minimum standards for victim support organisations around the European Union and beyond. These standards can serve both as a guideline to accreditation to become a VSE Member organisation and, more broadly, to assist victim support organisations in setting up and evaluating their services.

These minimum standards can be a useful tool to guide victim support organisations in developing high quality, effective, efficient and consistent services. Minimum standards can reduce the risk of services harming victims and wasting scarce resources. Moreover, minimum standards give VSE confidence in its Members and help protect VSE’s reputation. This confidence is also likely to be reflected in national institutions and victims’ attitudes towards those services. Finally, such standards can guide organisations and governments around the world who are developing and improving victim support services.

The standards for accreditation are based on the following premises:

  1. These are minimum standards, to be complied with by all full members which deliver services for victims of crime;
  2. Standards are adopted with the presumption that all full members will be accredited as soon as possible: until accreditation is achieved, their status as full members will not be affected whatsoever;
  3. Standards are set to help members develop their systems and services and are not established as an obstacle to membership.

The nine standards and their main components are outlined before:

1. Making services accessible to victims of all types of crime

  • Services are offered to all victims
  • Services are accessible, visible and well-publicised
  • Services take specific measures to reach out to vulnerable groups of victims

2. Respecting victims and treating them with courtesy and dignity

  • Ensure our staff and volunteers treat victims with respect and dignity
  • Ensure that infrastructure and organisation of services are respectful towards victims

3. Working to ensure victims are safe

  • Assess victims’ safety, requirements, identifying risks, and providing advice to victims
  • Put into place safety and security measures, including basic standards of safety for victims within the premises
  • Protect victims’ data and ensure confidentiality, while respecting the requirements of national legislation

4. Responding to individual victims' needs

  • Knowing different levels of needs: basic needs of all victims, needs of certain groups of victims, individual needs of victims
  • Tailor our services to respond to individual needs of victims
  • Provide services which can respond to victims’ different abilities and vulnerabilities

5. Supporting victims through diversity of services

  • Provide victims with the opportunity to access services through a range of means
  • Offer a diverse range of services

6. Delivering for victims through referrals and co-ordination

  • Inform victims about other services and service providers
  • Refer victims for support to partner organisations we know and are confident will provide a quality service

7. Ensuring good governance structures

  • Comply with national laws and regulations on the establishment of NGOs and charities

8. Achieving quality through training

  • Ensure all staff and volunteers receive an appropriate level of training according to the nature of their contact with the victim
  • Training will as a minimum aim to ensure that victims are treated with dignity and respect, that the support provided responds to the victim’s needs and that no further harm is caused

9. Improving our services through monitoring and evaluation

  • Evaluate our services at least once every two years
  • Have in place a complaint system which enables victims to give feedback and seek redress

Standards developed by VSE