The Project’s research workstreams are focused on both the national situation and European practices. By ensuring that both datasets are gathered, we can be confident of developing tools which reflect best practices whilst understanding the national agenda sufficiently to adapt tools as appropriate and to achieve buy-in from stakeholders. Research under both workstreams is being based on common templates with guidance to researchers. These include research questions, objectives and reporting tools for literature reviews, standard questionnaires, and semi-structured interviews. Through this approach, researchers seek out the same types of information using similar research methods. This is essential to facilitate analysis of the results through comparable and standardised information and data and development of common practical tools. However, some additional research questions are included in national research to assist in any future adaptation of common tools. 

The Project has started with an empirical research in the partner countries of Italy, Lithuania, Portugal and Romania to determine to what extent and how referral, assessment and information provision already occurs within victim support organisations and the police. Whilst the primary goal of this workstream is information gathering, it also plays an important role in helping partner organisations to develop new networks and relationships with State and non-state actors. 

At the same time, research is being carried out on European practices. European research will be based on a funnelling approach. In this way online research coupled with basic questions to victim support organisations and key partners in the EU member states will enable a first assessment of the situation in different countries. Where promising practices are identified, research will be narrowed to those countries and entities having the best access to the information. The most time-consuming research methods such as interviews – which are also likely to obtain more detailed results, will be reserved for those countries with the most advanced approaches. 

Based on the above research, information will be synthesised to determine what are the best practices relating to referral mechanisms, needs assessment and information provision. The analysis will factor in such issues as what mechanisms currently exist, what are the most common approaches, what problems and solutions have been encountered and to what extent different approaches are meeting their objectives whilst ensuring a safe environment for victims.  It is recognised that given diverse systems, there may not be one solution that serves all situations. The project will therefore aim to develop basic approaches which are relatively common or applicable in a wide range of situations whilst also identifying approaches suited to particular situations e.g. where certain data protection rules may be more stringent in some countries than others.