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Substantial Support for Victims: Towards a Holistic Response to Crime. Latvia and Beyond

The overall objective of project "Substantial Support for Victims: Towards a Holistic Response to Crime. Latvia and Beyond" is to prevent victimization by enhancing support for victims and fostering a more holistic and healing response to crime, where the needs of the victim, offender and society are equally acknowledged.

 
Needs of the violated should be the starting point in our response to crime, writes Howard Zehr (1990). European Commission has grouped these as the right to recognition, security and protection, support, access to justice and compensation and restoration. (EC Victims’ Package Consultation Document: Taking Action on Rights, Support and Protection of Victims of Crime and Violence)
 
Unfortunately, lack of understanding, motivation and means among law enforcement agencies, ministry officials and society at large to notice and respect the needs of victims is a challenged shared by Latvia and other EU member states.
 
Hence this project proposes four specific goals:
 
1.     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; 
2.     To improve information and support available to victims of crime;
3.   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;
4.    To improve cooperation and networking among state agencies and NGOs working with victims of crime within Latvia and beyond.
 
These issues are addressed through a complex approach entailing four groups of activities:
 
   1)     Empirical research evaluating support for victims of crime in comparison to their needs;
   2)     Accessible information for victims through victims’ support portal;
   3)     Introduction of support circles for victims of crime;
   4)     Educational and public awareness campaign.
 
Although the initial focus of the project is primarily on Latvia and secondarily on neighbouring countries Lithuania and Estonia, nevertheless it has a strong European dimension throughout its activities and strategies for dissemination and replication of project outcomes. Project duration: 24 months.
 
Project applicant is the Centre for Public Policy PROVIDUS with local and transnational partners: Legal Aid Administration, Ministry of Justice (Latvia); Information Centre, Ministry of Interior (Latvia); State Probation Service (Latvia); Association Skalbes (Latvia); Establishment Centre Against Abuse (Latvia); Talsi Crisis Centre (Latvia); Institute of Law (Lithuania); Victims Support Europe (UK); European Forum for Restorative Justice (Belgium); Victims Support Scotland (UK).
 
Researcher: dr. Rokas Uscila.
 
Duration: 2011.04.01 - 2013.03.31.
 
The project is funded by European Commision funds under the programme "Criminal Justice" (JPEN).