MDTF-JSS in partnership with Victim Support Europe and Victimology Society of Serbia organized round tables in Niš, Kragujevac and Novi Sad (26-28 October) to discuss findings and recommendations presented in three reports: Overview of Existing Victim Support Services in Serbia, Ensuring Funding for Victim Support Services, and Operating Networks for Victim Support Services.
Participants were judges and judicial assistants of the Appeal Court, Higher Court and Basic Courts, prosecutors at all levels, Police Directorate, Social Work Centre, attorneys, and NGOs.
Main discussion was focused on existing victims services, especially the one existing within the courts and prosecutors’ offices. It was confirmed that the majority of work done so far in the area of victim support was related to supporting victims of domestic violence and victims of human trafficking. There is little awareness and little work done regarding other forms of victimization. Some institutions were already aware of the Interactive map of victim support services and linked the Map to their website’s main page. Judges and prosecutors (assistants) working in Information services were interested in additional trainings and increasing of their capacities to communicate with the victims.
Participants were interested in findings and options for funding of victim support system. The discussion was dynamic and there was a consensus that funding for victim services in Serbia could come from the principle of opportunity or state lottery. There appears to be a need to support the judiciary in their work on supporting victims, in particular through their sensitisation and ensuring that they are able to provide referral. NGO sector will need support to expand and strengthen their services. One of the greater problems for the NGO sector and the support they provide is the project based work and lack of stability and sustainability in providing support.
Main conclusion from the round tables are: the state should build and improve current system of victim support services; there is a need to increase capacities of service providers and standardization of their work; principle of opportunity and lottery could be used as source of funding of future system. Project results will be presented at the Victimology Society Conference scheduled for 30 November 2017.