Seminar Infovictims: The Right of Victims of Crime to Information | September 23rd/24th | Lisbon

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One of the worst obstacles that victims of crime still face across Europe is the lack of information available to them, which may lead to a general unawareness on how to exercise their rights.

Based on this concern the Portuguese Association for Victim Support (APAV) is now developing the Project Infovictims, which aims to contribute to increase the information to victims of crime about the criminal justice system, their rights and ways to exercise them.

Within this Project, APAV will promote the Seminar Infovictims - The Right of Victims of Crime to Information, September 23rd and 24th, at the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation in Lisbon.

The Seminar will focus on cross-cutting issues in the field of victims rights, with special emphasis on the right to information and the challenges it brings up to the judicial and police authorities, at a national and European level.

[Update: Registration closed.]

The Project Infovictims is promoted by the Portuguese Association for Victim Support (APAV) and co-financed by the European Commission under the Programme Criminal Justice Directorate-General Justice, and developed in partnership with the Victim Support Europe, Crime Victim Compensation and Support Authority (Sweden), Bily Kruh Bezpeci (Czech Republic) and Weisser Ring Austria.

Victim Support Europe Conference in Edinburgh

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The annual conference of Victim Support Europe was held in Edinburgh, on 30 and 31 May, in co-organization with Victim Support Scotland. This event had the support of the Directorate General for Justice of the European Commission and was focused on the theme "Supporting Victims of Crime in Europe". The conference was attended by a large panel of speakers from various European countries and the United States, including the presence of HRH Princess Anne of Edinburgh, having gathered over 150 participants from about 28 countries in Europe. There were two days of intense work and exchange of knowledge, experiences and reflection on the current support for the victim of crime in Europe.

Following the invitation of Victim Support Europe, APAV presented two communications in plenary sessions by João Lázaro, the chairman of APAV and Vice President of Victim Support Europe (Victim Support Leaders 'perspective and Next Steps in Progressing Victims' Rights), and four workshops presentations (Right to Information, by Frederico Moyano Marques; Support to victims of trafficking - the portuguese experience, by Juliana Moya; Anti-bullying project and Young Victims, by Carmen Rasquete).

The conference was a success, and the delegation of APAV actively participated in the exchange of experience, networking and contacts.


Photos: Victim Support Europe

APAV as a Case Study at a Conference in Latvia

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With the mission to put in place the protection and support given to victims of crime in Latvian public policy, PROVIDUS – the Center for Public Policy – hosted in Riga the conference, “Substantial Support for Victims: Towards a Holistic Response to Crime, Latvia and Beyond” between February 21 and 22, 2013.

The conference urged the European Union authorities to ensure that the minimum standards of the rights of victims of crime reflect the new Directive, as well as to find a model of victim support for Latvia that involves a collaboration between responsible authorities and professionals in the country, which continues to see the marginalisation of victims of crimes whose rights and resources are outdated.

The conference asked for a formal execution of the Directive 2012/29/EU as to develop a systematic approach to ensure the adequate and effective exercising of rights, support and protection of victims of crime in Latvia.

APAV was selected as a case study and was invited to present their model of victim support used in Portugal and illustrate the Portuguese reality under the talk, “Make It Happen for Victims of Crime in Portugal.”

President of APAV reelected Vice President of Victim Support Europe

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The President of APAV, João Lázaro, was reelected to the position of Vice President of Victim Support Europe, at its General Assembly held in Edinburgh, June 1, for a term of three years.

Victim Support Europe is an international organization and was established as a European platform for victim support organizations, currently gathering 32 victim support organizations from 24 European countries. VSE has consultative status with the Council of Europe and the United Nations.

The management team of Victim Support Europe continues to be led by David McKenna, CEO of Victim Support Scotland, as President, and has five members from the victim support organizations of Germany, France, England & Wales and Netherlands.

European Parliament approves EU-wide civil law protection for victims

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Victims of stalking, harassment or gender-based violence who are granted protection in one member state will get equivalent protection if they move or travel to another, without having to go through time-consuming formalities, thanks to a new law passed by Parliament on Wednesday. These civil law rules complement the European Protection Order, which already provides similar protection under criminal law.

The regulation, to apply directly in all member states, will ensure that protection granted in one is maintained when the victim moves or travels to another. It will also simplify the application procedure for protection, by removing all today's intermediate formalities.

"We must make applying for protection more straightforward for victims, so that they are protected whenever they travel or move to another member state" said Antonyia Parvanova (ALDE, BG), Parliament's co-rapporteur on the civil law protection regulation. "Ensuring that victims of gender-based violence can obtain specialist support services from properly-trained officials anywhere in the EU is an important part of this protection", she added.

Co-rapporteur Antonio López- Istúriz (EPP, ES) said: "We want to make sure that any victim of crime can get protection and still move freely throughout the EU. This will allow us to strengthen the area of freedom, security and justice in the union. I am proud that we can offer better and safer future, especially to women and children".

This regulation on civil matters, covering threats to people's physical and psychological integrity, including threats to personal liberty, security and sexual integrity, complements the European Protection Order (EPO) Directive on criminal matters. Together, the two instruments will cover the broadest possible range of protection measures taken by member states.

To ensure that the protection is recognised and enforced throughout the EU, the regulation includes a standard multilingual certificate, which gives all the essential information. Using this certificate should keep translation costs to a minimum, so that in most cases there will be no extra costs for the protected person.

The resolution was passed by 602 votes to 23, with 63 abstentions. Once it is formally approved by the Council of Ministers, the regulation will apply from 11 January 2015. Denmark will not be participating.

Source: European Parliament / News