Countries in the region are focused on EU accession process and alignment of legislation with EU acquis. EU accession is the main driver of the reform which results in changes in institutional structures, legislative amendments and adoption of strategic documents. Less focus is placed on solving problems that citizens, especially the poor, face in their daily interactions with the justice system. Despite geographic proximity and commons legal tradition, justice stakeholders in region do not explore opportunities of structured dialogue on reform options, results or lessons. The victim support is an area where Serbia could learn from neighboring countries.
The MDTF-JSS took opportunity to identify lessons, bright spots and opportunities for practical reforms implemented in the process of establishment of victim support system in selected Balkans countries that can be implemented without expending a lot of funding.
The Report entitled Victim Support in the Selected Balkan Countries: A Comparative Perspective is a result of the joint efforts of the MTDF-JSS team and the Victimology Society of Serbia-VDS invested in development of the national victim support system in Serbia. The Report is prepared based on the research that examined organization and functioning of victim support in Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro and Macedonia. It aimed at revealing good practices and challenges in the process of establishing comprehensive victim support system in the selected countries that share the same legal heritage.
The research is based on triangulation of data collected by qualitative analysis of the normative framework and analytic documents on victim support systems in the selected countries and a survey, which consulted 127 victim support services in selected countries. The data are analysed against the EU Directive on establishing minimum standards on the rights, support and protection of victims of crime. The study focuses on the four main aspects: defining the term ‘victim’ in the criminal legislation; defining victims’ rights in the criminal legislation; victim’s right to receive information, and victim’s right to access confidential victim support services free of charge, before, during and for an appropriate time after criminal proceedings.
The Report provides practical recommendations how to improve victim support in Serbia based on the experience of countries in the region. The recommendations are presented to the relevant stakeholders and the MDTF-JSS and VDS will continue to disseminate results of the research.