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Project PROVICTIMS: the role of the public prosecution in the promotion of victims’ rights is a project co-funded by the Justice Programme of the European Union. The project’s main objective is improving the capacity of public prosecution services in addressing and ensuring the enjoyment of victims’ rights. If you wish to know more about the project and the partnership, read PROVICTIMS’ Newsletter Issue #1. To know more about the previous project’s activities, read PROVICTIMS’ Newsletter Issue #2.

 


RECENT ACTIVITIES

Visit to Dublin

The PROVICTIMS team visited Dublin, Ireland, on the 14th and 15th of November. The visit was organised and hosted by the Irish Council for Civil Liberties, one of the partner organisations of the project.

The two-day visit to the city comprised three different activities which were co-organised by ICCL and the Portuguese Association for Victim Support (APAV): the third partners meeting, a technical visit to the Criminal Court of Justice of Dublin and a workshop.

Third partners' meeting

The first activity to take place was the third partners meeting. The meeting was held in the headquarters of Transgender Equality Network Ireland (TENI) to which we would like to express our gratitude for opening their doors and welcoming the PROVICTIMS’s team.

During the meeting, the team discussed the project’s implementation and focused on the future activities, such as the development of the final report, the dissemination activities and the final conference.

 

3rd Partners Meeting Picture 2   

 

Technical Visit

After the partners’ meeting, the project’s team visited the Criminal Court of Justice of Dublin. There, the team had the opportunity to attended court hearings, allowing the participants to see a courtroom, to understand who the different legal actors in Irish criminal proceedings are and to meet and briefly discuss with some of these legal actors, namely public prosecutors and lawyers.

The project team also had the chance to visit a court room where court staff explained and demonstrated two protection measures used in some Criminal Court of Justice’s hearings: the screen and video-link.

The screen is a portable screen that is assembled between the witness’s seat and the defendant’s seat. The aim of the screen is that the victim does not see, and is not visible to the defendant when giving his/her statement, while being visible to everyone one else in the court room, namely the judge, the defendant’s lawyers, the public prosecutors’ team, the judicial staff and the jury if there is one. For the screen to be used in a court session, the witness must make a formal request to the judge before trial. Nevertheless, until the visit’s date, this measure had only been applied in two cases because, usually, when the witnesses/victims are especially vulnerable or a child, a video-link is used.

The video-link consists in the live-transmitted statement of a child witness/victim or a especially vulnerable witness/victim. The witness/victim stands in a specially designed room where he/she can sit in front of a camera and a screen. Through the screen the witness/victim sees the court room and through the camera he/she is tapped. Multiple screens and speakers in the court room allow the witness/victim to be seen by all legal actors present at the room. Using the video-link, the witness/victim provides his/her statement, the judge, public prosecutors and the defendant’s lawyers can pose questions while the witness/victim is not obliged to be confronted with the defendant.

Divided into two groups, the project’s team had the chance to experience in first-hand the functioning of video-link by visiting the room where the witness/victim provides his/her statement. This room is located at the victim’s suite – an area of the Criminal Court of Dublin specifically destined to victims of crime and their family and friends who are waiting to provide their statement either through video-link or in person at the court room.

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Workshop: Victims' Rights and the Role of the Prosecutor

The visit to Dublin was completed with a one-day workshop organised by ICCL which brought together the project team, representatives of the An Garda Síochána, the Office of the Public Prosecutor and civil society’s organisations.

The workshop was held at the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission and the programme was divided into three sections. In these sections, key-note speakers shared their knowledge on victims’ rights, legislation and practices concerning the role of the Office of the Public Prosecutor and the work of victim support organisations, before, during and after the trial.

Each of the speakers’ presentations was followed by debate with the participants and these moments were particularly important for the exchange of knowledge and experiences, not only between Irish stakeholders but also with the project partners who had the chance to explain some details of their national legal framework and practice.

The workshop was a success not just by building these bridges between different stakeholders and by providing the forum to discuss victim’s rights, but also because the media coverage secured by ICCL’s dissemination efforts brought about funding opportunity for CARI, a specialised support organisation that provides support and counselling to children and their families, particularly to the project presented by CARI’s representative at the workshop: the Courthouse Dogs project.

This event is an example on how mutual learning opportunities can also constitute forums for promoting and call attention to victims’ rights.


PROVICTIMS FINAL REPORT

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As announced in the last issue of the PROVICTIMS Newsletter, the Centre of Investigation for Criminal Law and Criminal Sciences of the Faculty of Law of the University of Lisbon, one of the partnership members, developed the PROVICTIMS questionnaire which was disseminated among Public Prosecutors and Victim Support Workers in the partnership countries and other Member States of the European Union.

The collected answers will build upon the information already gathered by the project team and will be one of the sources of the PROVICTIMS Final Report.

This report aims to analyse the role of Public Prosecution Services in the promotion of victims’ rights and to put forward practical recommendations to Public Prosecutors and other professionals having contact with victims, for example, victim support workers.

The Final report is currently being developed by the team of the Centre of Investigation for Criminal Law and Criminal Sciences, it will then be revised by all partners and translated into Croatian, Portuguese and Spanish.

At the end of the project, the Final Report will be available online and in print.

 


Thank you for reading Project PROVICTIMS Newsletter!

If you wish to know more about the Project contact the Project Team via email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

The content of this page represents the views of the author only and is its sole responsibility. The European Commission does not accept any responsibility for use that may be made of the information it contains.

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PROJECT DISCRIPTION & ACTIVITIES 

Project PROVICTIMS: The Role of Public Prosecution Services in Promoting the Rights of Victims is co-financed by the European Union’s Justice Programme (2014-2020) aims at improving the capacity of public prosecution services in addressing and ensuring the enjoyment of victims’ rights.

Public Prosecutors have far reaching powers within criminal proceedings which are accompanied by several responsibilities. One of these responsibilities is to act as guarantors of victims’ rights, particularly the right to information, the right to protection, the guarantee of an individual assessment and the right to access support service.

To achieve the projects’ main goal, several activities were planned. First, a thorough desk research and data analysis will be carried out in order to understand clearly what the role of prosecution services in the criminal proceedings is and in what way this role may affect victims’ rights. At this phase of the project, an online questionnaire will be created and disseminated among prosecution services and victim support organisations across the European Union, in order to assess how the aforementioned rights are being implemented in practice.  The information gathered will allow the research team to draft a final report which will, then, be disseminated, particularly among public prosecutors, through meetings between the partner organisations and the national Public Prosecution Services.

Alongside with these research activities, mutual learning experiences will take place, particularly during the workshops and technical visits. During the workshops and technical visits – one to be held in Bilbao, Spain, and the second one in Dublin, Ireland – the PROVICTIMS Team and other professionals will have not only the opportunity to share their knowledge and best practices, but also the chance to better understand different national realities and role of public prosecution in different legal contexts.

A final conference will be held in Lisbon. This event will bring together different professionals from the criminal justice system, as well as other who establish direct contact with victims in the aftermath of a crime, and will a space for debating the crucial role of prosecution services in upholding the rights of victims, alongside with the presentation of the project’s results.

 
 

THE PROJECT’S OBJECTIVES

During the implementation of PROVICTIMS and with its final results, the partnership aims at:

  • Increase the knowledge on the role of prosecution services in upholding victims’ right to information, to protection, to an individual assessment of their protection needs and to access support services;
  • Increase the capacityof public prosecutors to address issues related with the above mentioned rights;
  • Improve the cooperation between prosecution services and victim support services, highlighting the specific aspects where this cooperation may take place and how it shall be put into practice; and
  • Align judicial and administrative practice related to victims' rights with the relevant EU and national laws.
 

THE PARTNERSHIP

The Portuguese Association for Victim Support (APAV)

Founded in 1990, APAV is a non-profit and charitable organisation with the primary objective of providing free of charge and confidential support services to victims of crime, their families and friends. With a national coverage, APAV provides information on the rights of victims and the functioning of the criminal justice system, counselling and emotional, legal, psychological and social support. In order to do so APAV has 25 local and specialised services available to victims of all crimes, namely a National Network of 18 Victim Support Offices®; a Victim Support Helpline – 116006; a Network of Shelters for women victims of domestic violence and their children and the Centre for Shelter and Protection SUL for victims of trafficking in human beings; a Specialised Support Network to Families and Friends of Victims of Homicide; the CARE Specialised Support Network for Children and Youth Victims of Sexual Violence and a Support Network to Migrants and Victims of Discrimination.

APAV is an active member of several European and international Forums, like Victim Support Europe, the European Forum for Restorative Justice, the World Society of Victimology, the International Association for Volunteer Effort, the Fundamental Rights Agency Platform and the European Network Against Racism, and has a long standing experience in coordinating and implementing do-financed programs.

More information.

Centre of Investigation on Criminal Law and Criminal Sciences (CIDPCC) of the Faculty of Law of the University of Lisbon

The Centre of Investigation on Criminal Law and Criminal Sciences (CIDPCC) of the Faculty of Law of the University of Lisbon was established on March 2012. It was created to promote dialogue and reflection regarding the relations between legal science in the field of criminal law and other areas of knowledge and science. Its main aim is to raise discussion on new issues regarding criminal liability and criminal policy, such as neuroscience, psychology, mathematics, the theory of society, the theory of language and the theory of action. At the same time, the Centre wishes to have a social enrolment, in order to put into practice its scientific conclusions.

Currently, the Centre is composed by eleven integrated researchers and thirty-two non-integrated researchers with a background on a variety of scientific areas, such as Law, Medicine, Political Science, Psychology or Mathematics, which reflects the interdisciplinary nature of the Centre's project.

The CIDPCC is housed by the Faculty of Law of the University of Lisbon, a Faculty recognized by the quality and merit of its teaching staff, both at degree and post-degree levels.

Every year, both the CIDPCC and the Faculty of Law organize conferences on current issues and legal reforms and they also establish partnerships with other institutions, ensuring the legal education at the Portuguese Military Academy, for example.

More information.

Office of the Attorney General (PGR)

The Prosecutor General’s Office is the highest body of the Portuguese Public Prosecution Service. Its seat is in Lisbon and it coordinates each and every activity carried out by the Public Prosecution Service at national level.

Within the national legislative framework, the Public Prosecution Service is provided with powers to carry out the prosecution and, in that capacity, it is equally incumbent upon it to ensure the strict upholding of the law with a view to promoting the rights of victims of all crimes.

This functional role, apart from what is established in the Criminal Procedure Code, further entails a particular attention to what is enshrined in the special law on the protection of victims of domestic violence, in the Standing of Victims of all crimes and in the Witness Protection Law.

In this regard, risk assessment of victims of all crimes, but especially of particularly vulnerable victims, takes on a fundamental importance. Furthermore, victims of crime have the right to information in all of its practical aspects, with emphasis being placed on the implementation of the right to be assisted in every procedural step, including the right to legal advice, through the ex officio appointment of a lawyer.

The Prosecutor General’s Office is deeply interested in the results of the Project PROVICTIMS:, seeing that it shall represent a scientific support underpinned by a joint and diversified analysis encompassing a wide range of expert knowledge where the role of the judiciary, of the academy and of NGOs providing protection to victims stands out, not only from a national perspective, but also and fundamentally that which stems from the participation of partners from other countries.

We are convinced that the results achieved shall bring added value to the difficult task of better protecting all victims of crime.

More information.

White Circle Croatia

White Circle Croatia Association was established in April 2011 as a non-governmental, non-profit and non-political organization with residence in Split, Ljudevita Posavskog 14.

The main objective of the association is the protection of victims of criminal offences and delicts with elements of violence regardless of victims’ age and sex.

White Circle Croatia provides victims with legal, psychosocial and emotional support, carries out individual treatments with victims to reduce secondary victimization, educational workshops to empower victims, psychosocial treatment for perpetuators of domestic violence outside of health care institutions, cooperates with institutions with the purpose to improve victim's position and implements projects for preventing violence among children and young people.

White Circle Croatia Association as a provider of assistance to victims of all forms of violence, regardless of gender and age, launched a free SOS line for victims of violence (0800 63 29) with the aim of providing legal aid and psychosocial support to all citizens in the Republic of Croatia.

In its work, the Association engages both professionals and volunteers. Our volunteers are mostly young people with a background in law.

Until now, the Association has cooperated with police, the Municipal and County State Attorney's Office, the Social Welfare Center in Split, Omiš and Zadar, the Criminal and Penalty Court in Split and local government bodies. The Association also cooperates with other civil society organizations and participates in discussions, educational workshops, round tables within the scope of the Association, also analyses normative practice and proposes new normative solutions.

White Circle Croatia is a full member of Victims Support Europe (VSE), which is the European umbrella organization for support victims and witnesses of criminal offenses established in 1990 by national organizations in Europe working with victims.

We are working with users/clients every working day from 7:00 to 15:00.

SOS HELP LINE: 0800 63 29

PHONE: -385 21/ 783 – 449

EMAIL: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

More information.

The Irish Council For Civil Liberties (ICCL)

The Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL) is an independent national human rights organisation, established in 1976, which campaigns for the advancement of human rights across a wide range of policy areas, including justice, equality and privacy. The protection of human rights in the criminal justice system is a primary focus of ICCL’s work, and over recent years we have been involved in a number of major European projects connected to the implementation of EU Procedural Rights Directives. We have also led an education and training project around the implementation of the Victims' Directive in Irish law through the Criminal Justice (Victims of Crime) Act 2017.

More information.

IRSE-EBI Association Institute for Social Reintegration of Euskadi

The IRSE is an entity that works in the social field from a restorative perspective since 1987, developing various services and public programs in the Autonomous Community of the Basque Country.

IRSE's activity began with the management of the Support Services for the Detained and Support Services for Reinsertion. Since 1991, it also manages the pioneer Victim Support Service of  the Basque Government (Servicio de Atención a la Víctima).

IRSE is currently developing 25 programs in five lines of work: Socio-educational Intervention, Protection, Juvenile Justice, Social Inclusion, and Socio-sanitary.

Since August 2018, IRSE manages the Restorative Justice Service of the Basque Government, the first restorative justice service in the intra-judicial environment in the adult field of Europe, and one of its main objectives is the implementation of Circles and Conferences as restorative tools in the intra-judicial criminal space.

More information.

 

RECENT ACTIVITIES

 

The PROVICTIMS Kick-off meeting took place on the 14th and 15th of February in APAV’s head office in Lisbon. This meeting provided an opportunity for all partners to get to know each other’s work better and to plan the next project activities.

The importance and potential of PROVICTIMS was reinforced during the meeting which constituted the first step of this promising project.

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UPCOMING ACTIVITIES

 

Upcoming Activities PROVICTIMS

 

Thank you for reading Project PROVICTIMS Newsletter!

If you wish to know more about the Project click on the buttons above or contact the Project Team via email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

The content of this page represents the views of the author only and is its sole responsibility. The European Commission does not accept any responsibility for use that may be made of the information it contains.

PROVICTIMS EU Flag APAV

 

Project PROVICTIMS: the role of the public prosecution in the promotion of victims’ rights is a project co-funded by the Justice Programme of the European Union. The project’s main objective is improving the capacity of public prosecution services in addressing and ensuring the enjoyment of victims’ rights. If you wish to know more about the project and the partnership, read PROVICTIMS’ Newsletter Issue #1.

 

RECENT ACTIVITIES

Visit to Bilbao

Technical visit

The PROVICTIMS team visited Bilbao, the capital city of the Basque Country in Spain, on the 3rd and 4th of June 2019 and was received and hosted by Association Institute for Social Reintegration of Euskadi (IRSE-EBI), one of the partner organisations of PROVICTIMS.

The two-day visit to the city comprised three different activities which were co-organised by IRSE-EBI and the Portuguese Association for Victim Support (APAV): the second partners meeting, a technical visit and a workshop.

The first activity to take place was the technical visit. During the morning of June the 3rd, the project team guided by Antonio Perdices, IRSE-EBI’s representative, had a unique opportunity to visit Bilbao’s Court of Justice which is composed by two adjacent buildings where different criminal and civil justice facilities are based.

While visiting different rooms of the Court of Justice, the PROVICTIMS had the chance to speak to different professionals of the criminal justice system and understand different procedures. More precisely, the team visited a criminal court room having had the chance to attend a sentence reading session and speak to a judge, a public prosecutor and a professional responsible for the judicial secretariat who, in the Spanish criminal justice system, is the person responsible for liaising with victims and ensuring their rights are being respected as well as guaranteeing they are informed about the case.

Moreover, the project team visited the Basque Bar Association room within the Court of Justice, the Court’s Library, the police station which assists judges and prosecutors, the Public Prosecution room and others across the building.

When coming into the adjacent building where the High Court of the Basque Country is based, the participants visited the court’s psychosocial service. Here, they had the opportunity to meet with the head of the service which explained its functioning and showed a room where child victims and witnesses are questioned.

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The psychosocial service of the court, which is comprised by legal experts, psychologists and people with education on social service, is responsible for conducting psychological assessment of victims, witnesses and defendants and provide psychological expert evidence for civil courts, criminal courts and the regulation for parental responsibilities in family courts. The service is also responsible for conducting the questioning of child victims and witnesses which are carried out in the specific room mentioned before.

Finally, the participants visited the criminal sentence management services where they also had the opportunity to meet the head of the service, understand what the service does and debate the differences in the execution of criminal sentences in Spain, Portugal and Croatia. The topic of restorative justice in the prison context was also discussed.

All members of the team considered the visit very interesting and fruitful because it allowed us not only to learn more about the Spanish criminal justice system but also to better understand how it functions in practice, how its professionals work on a daily basis and in what ways are victims’ rights taken into account.

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We would like to thank this opportunity to congratulate our partner Anotnio Perdices who so kindly was our guide and made this visit possible. We would also like to thank, of course, to all professionals who so gently received and spoke to us.

Second partners meeting

After the technical visit which occupied the team’s entire morning, the second partners meeting followed. This meeting was an opportunity for the representatives of the partner organisations to discuss the state of implementation of the project and analyse the questionnaire proposal presented by Centre of Investigation for Penal Law and Criminal Sciences of the Faculty of Law of the University of Lisbon. Please find more information on the PROVICTIMS questionnaire bellow.

Workshop: the role of public prosecutors in the promotion of victims’ rights

On the second day of the visit to Bilbao, a workshop co-organised by IRSE-EBI and APAV took place on a conference room of Bilbao’s Court of Justice. The workshop focused on the Spanish legal system and on the role which pertains to Public Prosecutors in the promotion of victims’ rights within this same legal framework.

Several speakers, including the Justice Director of the Basque Government, a Prosecutor responsible of Bilbao’s specialised Public Prosecutor Office for especially vulnerable victims, and the head of IRSE-EBI’s Restorative Justice Service presented and discussed with the audience topics such as the role of Public Prosecutors in the Spanish legal and practical context, the restorative justice mechanisms in the Basque Country,the role of the Public Prosecutors in, and the importance of Public Prosecutors’ training. The workshop also represented an opportunity for IRSE-EBI’s team, represented by Juan Luis Fuentes, Jose Ignacio Martínez, Antonio Perdices and Lourdes Lorente, to present the Institute’s services and its past, current and future work in the promotion of social integration of past offenders, the improvement of restorative justice practices and, of course, of in the advancement of victims’ rights within the criminal justice system.

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PROVICTIMS QUESTIONNAIRE

The development of a questionnaire is one of the most important activities of project PROVICTIMS. The questionnaire is part of the project’s Workstream 2: research on the role of the public prosecution in the promotion of victims’ rights and it aims specifically at assessing the role of Public Prosecutors in different judicial legal systems in Europe in order to understand how victims’ rights are (or could be) ensured by Public Prosecution Services.

Following some preliminary desk research, the first step of the development of the questionnaire was the creation of an information recall which was sent to Victim Support Organisations (VSOs) and Public Prosecution Services in Austria, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, The Netherlands, and Sweden. The information recall consisted of a serious of open questions which aimed to establish baseline knowledge on different legal systems and on each of these systems’ legal treatment of some of the victims’ rights established in the Victims’ Directive (Directive 2012/29/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 October 2012, establishing minimum standards on the rights, support and protection of victims of crime, and replacing Council Framework Decision 2001/220/JHA).

Once the answers to the information recall were collected the team from the Centre of Investigation for Penal Law and Criminal Sciences of the Faculty of Law of the University of Lisbon started to prepare the questionnaire.

The PROVICTIMS questionnaire is a thorough research tool which will be disseminated in several EU countries, more precisely among VSOs and Public Prosecutors. The questionnaire is comprised by close-ended question on the (i) the overall legal framework, (ii) victims’ right to information (article 4 and 6 of the Victims’ Directive), (iii) the rights of victims when making a complaint (article 5), (iv) the right to support services (articles 8 and 9), (v) the right to safeguards in the context of restorative justice services (article 12), and (vi) the right to protection (article 18).

Once translated into different EU languages, the questionnaire will be disseminated. The answers provided by experts from VSOs and Public Prosecution Services will certainly build upon the information and knowledge already gathered by the project team and enable the development of a report which will aim at mapping the legal and practical role of the prosecution services in the promotion of victims’ rights as well as the drafting of practical recommendations on how Public Prosecutors can better play their role as guarantors of victims’ rights.

If you work in a Victim Support Organisation or as a Public Prosecutor, your answer to the questionnaire would help us gain invaluable insight regarding the role of Public Prosecutors in your country. Therefore, if you wish to answer to the PROVICTIMS Questionnaire, please send an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and we will make sure you receive the link once the Questionnaire is launched.

 

UPCOMING ACTIVITIES

 newslleter provictims upcoming activities

 

Thank you for reading Project PROVICTIMS Newsletter!

If you wish to know more about the Project click on the buttons above or contact the Project Team via email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

The content of this page represents the views of the author only and is its sole responsibility. The European Commission does not accept any responsibility for use that may be made of the information it contains.

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