The Touristic Safer Cities Project, sponsored by the European Forum for Urban Safety (EFUS) held a meeting in Munich on the 7th and 8th of July. The EFUS is a European forum which brings together 250 local and regional authorities from 16 different European countries. This project is in partnership with APAV as a specialist victim support organization in relation to tourist victims of crime. Its partner cities include: Alba and Rome (Italy), Munich (Germany), Saint Denis (France), Brasov (Romania) and Barcelona (Spain). The project considers security of key importance to the continued success of tourist destinations.
APAV was represented by its President who, through the communication of ‘Supporting Tourist Victims of Crime in the EU’, stressed the need for security strategies in densely populated tourist cities to include, in addition to prevention and police intervention, support to individuals and tourists that have been victims of crime. APAV has deepened its support for tourist victims over the years, working closely with the embassies and consulates. APAV has a renewed site specifically for tourists - May I help you? - with a Portuguese, English and Spanish versions.
On the 30th of June, APAV participated in a public debate held in the auditorium of the Portuguese Parliament. Organized by the Parliamentary group of the party Bloco de Esquerda, the debate discussed crimes of rape and sexual coercion, which is the object of the bill n.° 522/XII from this party.
More specifically, the issues at stake were essentially about the public nature of rape crimes and the reversal of the paradigm ‘no consent’ for the fulfillment of legal types in question. APAV expressed at the beginning of the debate a summary of the positions that the organization took regarding the two main topics discussed.
Every person reacts differently in the aftermath of a criminal offense. While some victims are able to move on with their lives fairly unaffected, others feel greatly impacted and have difficulty coping with the consequences of the ordeal they've endured.
In addition, many victims of crime are still unaware of their rights even of their right to access to quality services.
Seminar Right to Quality Services will be a valuable opportunity to gather several experts on the arena of victims' rights and support, whom will offer their perspectives on cross cutting issues related with:
- the assessment of victim' specific needs;
- qualified police assistance;
- the compared experience of victim support in Europe;
- the importance of certified quality support in the third sector;
- amongst others.
This event is organised within Project "Right to Quality Services for Victims of Crime" (2012-2014), promoted by the Portuguese Association for Victim Support and co-financed by the European Commission under the Criminal Justice Programme of the European Union. Project Rigth to Quality Services for Victims of Crime is developed in partnership with Victim Support Scotland, Weisser Ring Germany, University of Tilburg - INTERVICT (The Netherlands) and Institut d'Aide aux Victimes et de Médiation (INAVEM) (France).
Information, registration, programme:
Faced with a situation marked by the decline of Portuguese society, coupled with the increasing difficulties victims of crimes must cope with and its impact on their families and friends, has made APAV increase its support services. Taking into consideration some isolated Portuguese regions, local services are urgently needed. In this sense, APAV, supported by its Strategic Plan 2013-2017, has managed to acquire funding from EDP Foundation in 2013 to form the Integrated Design System Response Project to Support Victims of Crime.
The project launched in October 2013 and aims to create at a national level an integrated system that permits an effective screening of identifying the risks victims of crime are exposed to. Based on this criteria, this system then adjusts in response to each individual victim’s needs, as well as including the respective victim’s family and friends. This project intends to qualify and improve the Victim Support Line | 707 200 077, and APAV provides a technological information system management and support of the telephone service for this account, with the support of the REDITUS company. We are now running our new phone schedule for the Victim Support line, from 9h to 19h on weekdays, and from 10h to 13h, on Saturday.
The Project ABC Justice, promoted by APAV and financially supported by the Alumni Engagement Innovation Fund (AEIF) through the Embassy of the United States of America, aims to inform young people aged between 12 and 17 years old about the functioning of the Justice system.
To this effect, an informational and educational website is being designed in a simple way that adapts to the users age and explains how the Justice system functions and the rights of victims of crime. Learning-technology resources have also been developed to conduct informational sessions for young people. With the sessions lasting 80 minutes, different issues are addressed concerning how criminal proceedings operate with a complaint, the investigation phase, the audience of the trial, the sentencing, victims' of crime rights and other factors.
Between the 8th of May and the 12th of June, 14 informative sessions were held, in which 270 students from secondary school participated in. APAV collaborated with different schools from mainland Portugal and the autonomous regions, such as: the Secondary School of Fundao with students between 12 and 15 years old, the Secondary School Jaime Moniz; in Funchal, the Secondary School of Carregal do Sal, Primary School Arrifes, in Ponta Delgado, the Secondary School D. Manuel I, in Beja, the Center of Education and Development D. Nuno Álvares Pereira, the Casa Pia of Lisbon, and the Basic and Secondary School Águas Santas in Maia.
These sessions were followed by a total of 13 study visits to the courts, the Public Security Police Stations, the National Republican Guard and the Victim Support Offices of APAV.
APAV wants to take the opportunity to thank and recognize the participation and availability of all the schools, the judicial authorities and the police, as well as the respective professionals who’ve actively been involved in the ABC Justice Project activity.