The project Substantial Support for Victims: Towards a Holistic Response to Crime.Latvia and Beyond was launched with the aim to reduce victimization in Latvia by developing a support system for victims of crime and fostering public reaction that would be fairer and more effective in dealing with crime and more balanced in acknowledging the needs and interests of the victim, the offender and society at large. The Project included a study for evaluating the existing mechanism for victim protection and support in Latvia, collecting good practice examples from other countries and developing recommendations for establishing a victim support system in Latvia. The information obtained and analysed in the framework of this study serves both as proof and motivation for the public to develop an experience-based, meaningful and comprehensive victim support model. The results of the study show the necessity to facilitate a sound system of victim support which would be based on internal belief and advised by the understanding of the public and policy makers about what kind of protection, assistance and support is required by the people who have suffered from crime, rather than a formal implementation of EU requirements. Such support should be based on a number of components: regulative requirements, health and welfare services, policing and other law-enforcement work, as well as the resources and experience accumulated in the non-governmental sector.
Summary of the research “Provision for the needs of crime victims: support to prevention of victimisation in Latvia”
Research “Provision of the Needs of Crime Victims: Support to Prevention of Victimisation in Latvia”
Project costs: 192 685 EUR
Financed by: European Commission
Contact person: Ilona Kronberga
Thr overal objective of Project “Support for Victims of Crime: Substatial or Nomina. Latvia and Beyond” is to prevent victimization by enhancing support for victims of crime and fostering a more holistic and healing response to crime, where the need of the victim, offender and society are equally acknowledged. Currently victims and society are viewed as passive and marginal actors in crime. Addressing victims’ needs can be viewed as burdensome and inconvenient by representatives of law enforcement agencies, hence the primary focus of law enforcement manifests as closing a case in due time or punishing the offender. Victimization often recurs when a person affected by crime turns to law enforcement agencies or even to their close family members. Hence it is necessary to introduce a comprehensive approach that would place victims needs on the policy agenda, shift perspective and modus operandi in law enforcement agencies and in society at large, and last, but not least, support and empower victims. This project proposes four specific goals:
- To provide research based strategic and policy recommendations for development of good victims policies that address victims’ needs, and respond to crime in a balanced and restorative way;
- To improve information and support available to victims of crime;
- To enhance understanding about the benefits of a restorative response to crime and responsiveness towards victims’ needs among law enforcement agencies, media and society at large;
- To improve cooperation and networking among state agencies and NGOs working with victims of crime in Latvia and beyond.
These issues are addressed through a complex approach entailing four groups of activities:
- Empirical research evaluating support for victims of crime in comparison to their needs;
- Accessible information for victims through victims’ support portal;
- Introduction of support circles for victims of crime;
- Educational and public awareness campaign.
Legal Aid Administration,
Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Latvia;
The Information Centre of the Ministry of the Interior;
State Probation Service of Latvia;
Association Skalbes, (Latvia);
Centre against Abuse Dardedze, (Latvia);
Talsi Crisis Centre, (Latvia);
Institute of Law, (Lithuania);
Victims Support Europe (UK);
European Forum for Restorative Justice (Belgium);
Victims Support Scotland (UK)
Situation in other countries
Representatives of several European countries described victims’ support systems that are in place, legal framework of these systems, the best practices and lessons learned. For more information, click on the report from each country.