Development of Practical Tools to Foster Best Practices

The work package will cover development of Manual on Effective and Secure Referral of Victims, Support Needs Assessment Tool, Maps of Important Victims’ Support Resources, and Information on Victim’s Rights in a Simple and Accessible Language.

Drafting of the Manual on Effective and Secure Referral of Victims will result in a number of outputs organised in a manual which will support secure referral of victims by police to support organisations, or between support organisations: formalised guidelines, forms and protocols or partnership agreements, etc.. 

The results of research on national and EU best practices will be drawn together to determine factors or criteria which are most commonly used and required when establishing referral mechanisms. The team will take into account the different risks and problems that have been identified in Member States when establishing such mechanisms to develop both guidelines on how to establish referral systems as well as to develop, for example, a template partnership agreement. Where different countries vary in their approaches due to differences in national situations, those approaches can also be set out with explanations why one system may be preferred to another depending on the local situation. The manual will also include a guidance document on the secure transfer of victim information between organisations. In particular, it will focus on software using Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) to securely encrypt files and how these might be applied to the victim support context either by support organisations or state entities such as the police. This section will focus on identification of best available software to be applied in differing national contexts and for cross-border cooperation among stakeholders taking part in the processes related to victims’ support. The software will be accompanied with an instruction on how to guarantee full respect of victims’ wishes, privacy and protection of personal data in the context of referrals. Once the manual has been finalised each national partner will use the results to explore how to implement their own referral system. Once necessary adjustments have been made, they will begin a process of engagement with potential referral partners – victim service providers and the police. Each national partner will walk potential referral partners through possible referral arrangements. The aim of such discussions will be the establishment of referral protocols or agreements and implementation of the referral system.

Support Needs Assessment Tool will be drafted to assist support officers in determining the support needs of a victim to ensure that the responsible officer provides appropriate support or guides the victim to services able to meet those identified needs. The tool will provide guidance on e.g. how to structure first and subsequent interventions to determine impact of the crime and support needs, appropriate questions to ask, how to record and assess information to determine the correct course of action. Depending on findings, the result may be a guidance document, a script or list of questions, and a recording and analysis system to support the decision-making process. Importantly, the assessment will operate in conjunction with the mapping process since any assessment will need to take into account available resources both within the assessing organisation itself as well as external resources to which the victim may be referred.

Maps of Important Victims’ Support Resources will be created through production of mapping tools of victim support services in each country. The tools will be useable by each partner organisation when supporting victims to provide them with information on available services or to refer them as necessary. The tool will be designed to be used both on electronic devices and to be printable, to fit to the needs of each support officer and their particular work environment. An interactive mapping tool will also be developed for use on websites whereby a victim will be able to identify services most relevant to their situation, for example by filtering according to location, type of crime, or type of service sought. From the perspective of transferability, the project will design the tools such that any organisation in any country may populate them with data relevant to their own country. Once the mapping tools are finalised, they will be implemented at the national level. 

A set of core information on victim’s rights in a simple and accessible language will that will be applicable in any country of the EU will be created. The information will focus on the impact of victimisation including e.g. normal and abnormal reactions, and the core rights that should be available to victims as established under the EU Victims directive. This information will be presented in a manual which will also list other information which is most commonly needed and provided to victims. The list cannot provide the detailed information content as this will change in each country. Such information will include the rights of victims within the criminal proceedings, the procedure to apply for compensation, etc. The manual will also encompass common leaflets and posters design templates to be filled with information addressed to victims in particular participating states.

Having finalised the common tools, each national partner will produce its own information leaflet or poster and manual for victim support officers. The leaflet or poster will be developed according to the national need and situation. An information manual will be developed to assist victim support officers when working with victims. It will be populated with victim impact information, information on core rights, information on the services provided by the organisation, etc. This project will not, however, develop an extensive catalogue of information relevant to victims’ issues. Nevertheless, it will establish the basis for such information to be gathered and provided in the future.

The tools created in the work package will be presented at national workshops in Italy, Lithuania, Portugal, and Romania, in order to gather insights of stakeholders on the practical tools introduced and thus allow update them to meet the practice needs in every partnering state.