‘Protasis: Empowering Policing Professionals’ (Grant Agreement JUST/2015/RDAP/AG/VICT/9318) is a two year EU funded project which launched in December 2016. The project seeks to support better implementation of the EU Victims’ Directive 2012/29/EU establishing minimum standards on the rights, support and protection of victims of crime (hereinafter referred to as “Victims’ Directive”). The objectives of the project are to:
a) Share best practices and create a victim-friendly and gender and child sensitive environment during victims’ contact with the police, aiming to enhance victim’s rights and facilitate their access to justice, while minimising the risks of secondary victimisation and increasing victims’ satisfaction.
b) Develop, pilot and implement training material and programmes for police officers, aiming to improve and strengthen their communication skills and knowledge on how to interact with and treat victims with special needs, especially related to gender and child specific issues.
c) Develop an information sharing framework through signposting, strengthening cross-sector and multi-agency cooperation in order to meet victims’ needs more effectively.
The project is being delivered with six partners in four countries, including the European Public Law Organization (Greece), EuroCrime (Italy), Inter-Area Local Police School Foundation (Italy), Lisbon Law School's Research Centre of Criminal Law and Criminal Sciences (Portugal) and the Portuguese Association for Victim Support (Portugal).
By undertaking this project, IARS and its partners expected to achieve the following results:
· Increase police officers’ awareness regarding the Victims’ Directive and victims’ needs, especially regarding child victims and victims of gender-based violence;
· Improve and increase police officers’ theoretical and practical knowledge regarding victims’ needs and psychology of victims, and empower their skills to evaluate victims’ needs;
· Increase cross-sector and multi-agency cooperation through signposting of relevant services;
· Increase public and professionals’ awareness on victims’ rights and needs and the Victims’ Directive, and on gender and child specific issues;
· Inform about, promote the use of and make available training materials to a wide police professional audience;
· Inform all relevant actors about the available training materials; and
· Raise awareness among EU member states and practitioners, regarding the challenges and good practices for an effective and sustainable implementation of the Victims’ Directive and the role of the Police.
An examination of the practical implementation of the Victims’ Directive across EU Member States reveals that the most significant challenge remains the obligation to safeguard that all victims have access to victim support based on their specific needs. Victim support is perceived as the key element in both ensuring the respect of victims’ rights and their access to justice. As such, the effective support and protection of victims can significantly depend upon both an effective training system for professionals working with victims and secondly an effective information system, including referral to support services.
Police officers are most often the first point of contact that a victim has with authorities, placing them, therefore, into a key position for enhancing the effective support and protection of victims’ rights. As the first officials to come in contact with a victim, they are tasked with the individual assessment of the victim’s specific needs and providing information and referral to support services. However, the practical implantation of these provisions across Member States is not consistent. Across member states, the training of police officers highly differs, with training being offered in non-systematic and non-compulsory manner and often only for specific target groups. In fact, most police officers and police investigators have received limited or no education on issues related to communication with and interviewing of victims of crime. Similarly, referral mechanisms are often absent is several member states, some of which even lack the appropriate support service organisations.
This project seeks to respond to this situation by developing improved training products for police that is informed by evidence-based research and the sharing of best practice.
As part of the project, the IARS International Institute is hosting a two-day work visit in London on 24th and 25th January in order to give to our project partners the opportunity to see how an effective system within police of individual assessment and referral to appropriate services for victims works in practice.
During the work visit, project partners will interact with UK police, who will share their experience and knowledge, to obtain practical insights on the benefits and obstacles of the systems in the UK. Topics to be discussed will include:
The sharing of good practice will then be combined with evidence based research and be used to develop further training products for police in each of the project partners’ countries (excluding the UK).
If you wish to get involved please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
The programme if co-funded by the European Commission under the JUST/2015/RDAP/AG/VICT/9318 Grant Agreement