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MDTF Activities > Advocacy on Improvement of Victim’s Support – Key Stakeholders Working Meetings in Regional Centers and Belgrade

Advocacy on Improvement of Victim’s Support – Key Stakeholders Working Meetings in Regional Centers and Belgrade

MDTF-JSS in partnership with Victimology Society of Serbia organized Regional meetings in Novi Sad, 15 May 2018, Užice,17 May 2018, Nis, 24 May 2018, Zajecar, 25 May 2018 and Belgrade, 30 May 2018 to present brochures Guideline through the criminal justice system for victims and Guideline through victim support in Serbia. The meetings were opportunity to promote Interactive map of victim support services.

Participants at the meetings were representatives from: Ministry of Justice; Ministry of Interior, Department for prevention and suppression of domestic violence; Ministry of Labour, Employment and Social Policy; Republic Public Prosecutor's Office; representatives of Social work centres, courts and prosecutor offices from regional centres; OSCE; Provincial Ombudsman; Republic Agency for peaceful settlement of labour disputes; Judicial Academy; and NGOs.

Conclusions from regional meetings are focus on following topics:

a) Conclusions concerning interactive map:

  • A small number of participants have used an interactive map.
  • The interactive map is extremely useful, but it is necessary to promote it and bring it closer to citizens, for example, via billboards or flyers. It was suggested to include the contact data of the police in Serbia in the interactive map as well.
  • The experts should be informed about the map through similar meetings as well as on the Coordination Groups established in relation to the implementation of the Law on the Prevention of Domestic Violence.
  • Due to frequent data changes it is necessary to regularly update the map.
  • It is necessary to include more organizations in the map. Invitations were sent to individual organizations after the meetings.
  • At some point, the map should turn into a mobile app.
  • It is necessary to modernize design and technical capabilities of a map that would enable easier and faster contact information to victims.
b) Conclusions on support to victims of crime in Serbia:
  • The issue of victim support is not systematically regulated and it depends on the enthusiasm of individuals.
  • When practitioners speak about supporting victims, it mainly relates to providing support and assistance to victims of domestic violence and child victims.
  • In some institutions (center for social work, prosecutor office, court) practitioners who work on victim support are burdened with a large number of cases on which they work.
  • The issue of stable financing of non-governmental organizations, as well as services funded by government institutions, is an important issue and has an impact on the sustainability of services for victims.
  • The younger professionals, in particular judicial and prosecutorial assistants, should be the bearers of future activities of protecting and supporting victims. It is necessary to organize separate meetings for them in order to raise their awareness about victims’ rights and services for victims.
  • Participants agreed that it is necessary to pay attention to and care for employees who work directly with victims.
  • It would be good for decision-makers to volunteer in victim support services for some time in order to understand the needs of victims.
  • A better model of informing victims about existing victim support network should be established.
  • Evaluation of the work of the Services in the Courts and Prosecutor's Offices needs to be done. This evaluation could serve as a guideline for their further development, which would, inter alia, include extending the network of victim assistance services to the Basic Prosecution Offices and Courts.
c) Conclusions on networking, cooperation and use of existing resources at local and regional level:
  • Examples of good practice in networking and cooperation primarily relate to the cooperation of institutions and organizations that provide support to victims of domestic violence.
  • Cooperation is good, but it is largely based on personal acquaintances and existing resources that are insufficient.
  • It is evident that the unique resource centers for victims are missing. They could provide information and refer victims to specialized services and they should be available 24/7.
d) Conclusions on visibility of all victims and availability of assistance and support:
  • Not all the victims are equally visible.
  • There is a lack of general victim services.
  • There are not enough civil society organizations, while resources in state institutions are insufficient.
  • There is a lack of services for elderly and children, especially services for supporting victims of peer violence (bulling).
  • There are no organizations to help indirect victims, such as families of those killed or those who were injured in traffic accidents.
  • Organizations that provide free legal aid are missing.
One of the measure to promote interactive map is to send the link of the map on others internet pages, including internet presentations of the court and prosecutors’ offices in Serbia. The VDS will contact courts and prosecutor offices to ensure implementation of this measure.

The interactive map is the basis for creating a network of victim support organizations, which would further lead to the establishment of a national help line for victims as in other countries in Europe.