Project IVOR Preliminary results on the implementation of the EU Directive

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1 Project IVOR Preliminary results on the implementation of the EU Directive Emanuela Biffi, KU Leuven (Belgium) Eva Mulder, Tilburg University (The Netherlands)

2 Today s presentation The IVOR project Objectives, methodology, outputs Victims assistance in the EU Zoom-in on individual needs assessment & training Beyond the criminal justice system Zoom-in on trust in authorities and corruption 2

3 The IVOR project ( ) IVOR: Implementing Victim-Oriented Reform of the criminal justice system in the EU Focus on the impact of the Victims Directive*: changes in domestic legislation in all EU MS victims rights, support and protection in practice Project partners 3

4 *on the Victims Directive DIRECTIVE 2012/29/EU establishing minimum standards on the rights, support and protection of victims of crime Replacing the EU Framework Decision 2001/220/JHA on the standing of victims in criminal proceedings Legally binding and enforceable: transposition in 3 years time (16 Nov 2015) Including additional contents With clearer provisions and guidance for implementation IVOR project on the legal and practical implementation of the Directive 4

5 IVOR s objectives To identify: Model(s) of victim assistance in EU Lacunas in the knowledge of victims experiences Recommendations for fostering the implementation of the EU Victims Directive Within the criminal justice system... overview of current victims rights & services across the EU Outside the criminal justice system... overview of auxiliary factors relevant for encouraging or discouraging the implementation of victim assistance in the EU 5

6 IVOR s methodology & outputs Methodology Country summaries Interviews with national experts Literature review Expert seminar Outputs Policy seminar with experts on victimology, criminal justice and EU law Recommendations for the implementation of the EU Victims Directive Research report (March 2016) 6

7 Victims assistance in the EU Within the Criminal Justice System Main lacunas and/or issues: Definition of victim (Art.2) Victim support (Art. 8 & 9) Restorative justice (Art. 12) Victims resident in another MS (Art. 17) Individual needs assessment (Art. 22) Vulnerable groups (Art. 23 & 24) Training (Art. 25) Cooperation and coordination (Art. 26) Interviews with national experts Legal basis of rights Coordination Legal basis Victim assistance Accessibility Practical implementation (availability, accessibility and coordination of services) Availability 7

8 Zoom-in on Individual Needs Assessment (Art.22) Why focus on the Individual Needs Assessment? Recognition; respectful, sensitive and professional treatment of victims Prevention of/protection against secondary and repeat victimization: (55): It is possible that such a risk derives from the personal characteristics of the victim or the type, nature or circumstances of the crime. 8

9 Vulnerable Groups Personal characteristics of the victim: his or her age, gender and gender identity or expression, ethnicity, race, religion, sexual orientation, health, disability, residence status, communication difficulties, relationship to or dependence on the offender and previous experience of crime. Type or nature and the circumstances of the crime: whether it is a hate crime, a bias crime or a crime committed with a discriminatory motive, sexual violence, violence in a close relationship, whether the offender was in a position of control, whether the victim's residence is in a high crime or gang dominated area, or whether the victim's country of origin is not the Member State where the crime was committed. 9

10 Individual needs assessment of victims To identify specific protection needs and related appropriate protection measures that may benefit the victim Taking into account (a) personal characteristics of the victim, (b) the type or nature of crime, and (c) the circumstances of the crime. Timely and individual assessment Involvement of the victim Adaptable throughout the criminal justice process 10

11 IVOR s preliminary findings I Several countries have (to some extent) implemented the individual needs assessment No mention of Individual Needs Assessment does not mean that certain vulnerable groups (e.g. children, victims of sexual/domestic violence) are not identified and certain rights for them made accessible (e.g. automatic referral to specialist VS; interrogation by police officer of the same sex). Importance of distinquishing between different vulnerabilities is acknowledged Pilot studies 11

12 EVVI Project EVVI: EValuation of VIctims (2015) Participating Member States: France, Spain, Poland, Portugal and the UK Questionnaire as guidance All stages of criminal proceedings Police s responsibility Venue adapted to circumstances Victims are encouraged to contact authorities is circumstances changed No concrete reccomendations on certain measures 12

13 IVOR s preliminary findings II Alternative: to broaden the current group of vulnerable victims (Latvia) Currently much still depends on the insight and good will of the police officer regarding whether victims will be granted special protection measures This is not necessarily prevented by adherence to Directive: (59): In the event of such operational or practical constraints, a special measure envisaged following an individual assessment may not be possible to provide on a case-by-case basis. 13

14 Worries and Difficulties I Nothing like Art. 22 has been required before Lack of (financial) resources Who is the competent authority who should do the assessesment? Specific training required What will the assessment consist of? (actual checklist, open interview) What will happen with the information attained by the assessment? Privacy (Art. 21) How to take into account the wish of the victim? May lead to (unrealisticly) high expectations on the side of the victim 14

15 Worries and Difficulties What will really change? Some groups are already easy to identify and have their own rights Some groups are difficult to identify Slight mental handicaps Hate crime For sufficient implementation of the needs assessment, a thorough understanding of vulnerabilities is needed. Currently, victims of hate crime, ethnic minorities and non-residents are still frequently not mentioned as vulnerable groups. 15

16 Possible benefits Systematic One central decision that can be followed up on More attention towards interaction between multiple vulnerabilities of the victim Better information to victim about options of protection 16

17 Possible good practices Training Poland: (adaptation EVVI Questionnaire) Two different versions of questionaire: 1) Police and prosecutors: short, simplified, aimed at applying means of protection (with an additional focus on the circumstances of the crime and on the perpetrator) 2) Victim Support services: more extensive Communication 17

18 Zoom-in on Training (Art. 25) General and specialist training for all professionals dealing with victims of crime, including police officers, court staff, judges, prosecutors, lawyers, VS and RJ practitioners Why focusing on training? Safeguard to grant competent and safe services Questions on availability of trainings for different categories of professionals or lay people, in particular contents and format of trainings timing and frequency compulsory or mandatory education 18

19 Training police officers, judges, prosecutors I Some findings: Victims rights mentioned in the general educational programme for police and the judiciary Additional professional development trainings for police and the judiciary Experts from several MS were not knowledgeable about trainings 19

20 Training police officers, judges, prosecutors II Some interesting findings: VS organisations may be asked to provide trainings for police forces and the judiciary Different professional groups may be brought together in trainings to increase cooperation and share more knowledge In terms of contents, vulnerable groups of victims have been hot topics in trainings The adoption of new legislation (e.g. Victims Directive) has been a topic to organise training and raise awareness 20

21 Training VS and RJ practitioners/ volunteers No specific educational programme, but background in psychology, law, social work, sociology, criminology No standards for professional development training Certified compulsory trainings with different formats/contents No standards even within the same MS Learning by doing approach 21

22 Contents of training Information the contents of the Victims Directive and other relevant legislation who is a victim of crime, what is victim support, what is victim-offender mediation, what other services are available the impact of crime on victims, the impact of giving evidence at court dealing with vulnerable groups practice tools for preventing secondary victimization (basics of) restorative justice Skills (VS & RJ) communication restorative justice cooperation 22

23 Missing contents of training Training for supporting victims of crime Individual needs assessment Post-traumatic growth of victim positive change that the individual experiences as a result of the struggle with a traumatic event Recognise signals and assist victims in this process Training for supporting workers with victims of crime Vicarious traumatisation of people working with victims Two main risks: 1) workers leaving their job, 2) workers providing a disservice 23

24 Training for supporting workers Target groups (VS & RJ practitiones, criminal justice authorities,) therapists, caregivers, volunteers, interpreters Awareness about vicarious traumatisation Effects: job burnout, traumatic stress, compassion fatigue, traumatic countertransference Risk factors: young professionals, occupational role, (level of education) Awareness about vicarious post-traumatic growth Effects: positive changes in terms of values and priorities, spirituality, personal strength, interpersonal relationships, professional identity and capabilities Factors: one s empathic capabilities, to positive and optimistic attitudes, to feeling satisfied, competent and valued at work, to sense pleasure and coherence in life, but also to the actual negative experience to trauma 24

25 Not only awareness... Assessment of the problem Self-assessment: Understand level of stress by assessing symptoms (e.g. lack of sleep, frustrations, fears) and examining feelings and thoughts Assessment by colleagues: Building trust and cooperation between co-workers Assessment by other close people: Rely on family and friends Other practical solutions Mindful exercises and lessons of self-care More training and supervision to be part of a community and avoid isolation Information and referral to professional help, if needed 25

26 Possible good practices on training Some conclusions: Standards for training professionals and lay people supporting victims of crime are needed Thematics/ format/ timing and frequency Victim-oriented modules in educational programmes Missing contents: Vicarious traumatization of people working with victims (awareness and practical tips) Post-traumatic growth (of victims and workers) Individual needs assessment (a new profession needed?) 26

27 On Cooperation & Awareness (Art. 26) Cooperation between the EU Member States, collection of good practices and raising awareness on victims rights Why focusing on this article? For granting accessibility to victim support services For scientific advantages: new skills, sharing knowledge, different viewpoints Social advantages: encouraging interactions, understanding, relationships within and beyond borders Not welcomed question: considered rather soft law Practical ideas collected, but no standardised structured way to act 27

28 Cooperation between MS Some international cooperation practices: Participation in European projects Participation to international events, such as conferences, seminars Membership to international organisations E-tools for increasing interactions Establishment of national working groups Celebration of international days commemorating victims of crime International conventions encouraging cooperation between different MS Cross-border judicial cooperation between competent authorities focusing on victims rights 28

29 Awareness on victims rights Responsible for raising awareness: victim support services, other NGOs and local social services the State if the campaign needs to reach the national level Practices vary: From informative campaigns on the media, to printed communication materials, to trainings and seminars, to research publications, to events for discussing new legislation or cases... Legislation on victims rights for raising awareness and for stimulating attitudes changes among criminal justice authorities 29

30 Outside the criminal justice system Societal Political Social Economic Institutional Within justice system Outside justice system Individual Characteristics of victim population(s) High profile cases 30

31 IVOR s auxiliary factors outside the CJS Selected auxiliary factors: Civil society and volunteering Demographic inequality Economic inequality Rule of law and access to justice Social representation of crime Trust in authorities and corruption Victim type and nature of crime Welfare, health, insurance 31

32 Trust in authorities and corruption Why focusing on trust in authorities and corruption? Victims report crimes to authorities (i.e. Police) Lack of trust - less reports less access to services and rights Victims may experince the consequences of a corrupt system More corruption less investigations/ no prosecution of certain criminals less sense of justice/ no access to services More corruption higher crime rates/ less reporting of crimes inutility of the system/ fear 32

33 Trust in police Percentage of people indicating that the police is often and very often unfair. Percentage of people that believes the police treats people not at all or not very often with respect. 33

34 Perception of Corruption 34

35 Some reflections Same (legal) rights in different MS may lead to different outcomes Interaction with individual needs assessment Personal assessment Shame and stigmatisation Interaction with training Awareness vs. Attitudes Vicious cycle 35

36 Obrigada! Questions? Eva Mulder Emanuela Biffi 36

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