The theme of this year’s Conference is Reaching Out To Victims. 

Over the last years, there has been an increasing focus on victims’ rights and services. This has led to many improvements in the experiences and treatment of victims of crime. Nevertheless, rights, awareness of and access to those rights and services remains insufficient.

A host of reasons exist for this including a lack of awareness and knowledge amongst the general public and victims. At the same time different victims and groups also find themselves in situations which make coming forward and seeking help or justice difficult or impossible. This may be due to personal fears, embarrassment, lack of trust or faith in the system, external pressure from the perpetrator(s), family, friends or community, physical or mental inability or incapacity to name just some of the barriers.

Priorities for Workshops
With this in mind, this year’s Conference will explore what are the barriers to victims knowing about and accessing services and rights, how we can and are overcoming these barriers including how organisations and individuals directly reach out to victims.

The Conference will focus on all victims of crime but will also have a specific focus on victims of Cybercrime, hate crime, gender based violence, terrorism, honour crimes and children. It will also focus on victims who may be more at risk of limited access – such as victims in institutions, victims with disabilities, elderly victims, migrant or minority groups etc. These can often be the most difficult victims to identify and tend to have much lower rates of reporting crime.

We invite practitioners, researchers, experts, lawyers, academics, victim support organisations, police, criminal Justice officials and any other persons working in the field of rights and services for victims of crime to submit proposals for a workshop.

We are interested to hear about projects, activities and research that identify:

* problems victims and the public have in finding out about rights and services,

* the barriers they experience in trying to access those services, or

* the barriers which prevent them from wanting to access those services/ rights.

We would also like to hear about ways of overcoming these barriers, working with practitioners, the community, private sector and victims themselves to increase accessibility and knowledge. This might include work to identify victims, who are not easily identified or cannot come forward on their own,
Key priorities for papers under these themes are listed below:

Reaching the vulnerable victims and specific groups of victims
A range of victims including those in institutions, elderly people, children, undocumented migrants and victims of certain types of crime such as rape, honour crimes, hate crimes, cybercrime, cross border victims (including victims of terrorism) and stalking, tend to have much lower rates of reporting crime or lower likelihood to seek and obtain services and rights.

Some will not be in a position to speak out or will not know their rights or even that they have been victimised. Others will be fearful to come forward, not believe anything can be done, or not trust others to help. Equally, it may be very difficult for others to identify them as victims or to know what to do if they have concerns, namely victims of cybercrime, honour crime, gender based violence, hate crime and terrorism, victims in cross border situations.

For this theme, we are looking for workshops which explores these issues either from the perspective of a specific group, or looks at cross cutting issues which affect a range of victim groups. Workshops will explore barriers to coming forward or to identifying victims, innovative practices to help reach victims, projects or research that help understand the problems and resolve them etc.

Getting support to victims
Victims will experience a range of difficulties in reaching support services. This may be due to their location, limited transport possibilities, disabilities or they be reluctant to meet face to face. To increase access to services, organisations have been implementing different approaches such as use of telephone helplines, chatlines and other messaging services, contacts through social media, mobile services etc.

This theme will focus on innovative ways to offer services to victims to make them more accessible. We are interested in proposals which demonstrate different approaches to supporting victims, what problems are encountered in providing these services and how they are solved, as well as workshops looking at barriers to access.

Working through partnerships and community to reach and support victims
The complex environment and situations faced by victims and those working with them often requires organisations and individuals to work together to deliver in the best way for victims. This might involve effective referral between NGOs or from the police or prosecution. It may involve the private sector and NGOs working together to develop new products, technologies to serve victims, or to identify victims in different environments such as hotels, online, in sports clubs, religious institutions etc. This may also involve local community projects where citizens are empowered to support victims and service providers. The collaboration may entail information sharing, joint training, cost sharing, product develop and much more.

We are interested in workshops which demonstrate how different organisations can and have come together to improve the identification of victims, help victims and the public’s awareness of their right, improve practitioner knowledge, and strengthen or broaden access to services.

Information, awareness raising and training
The knowledge that victims, the public and practitioners have about needs of victims, proper approaches, rights and services etc, are critical when identifying victims, working with them, reaching out to them victims and helping them access those rights and services.

The importance of awareness raising campaigns are well recognised but often involve basic approaches such as posters and leaflets. Yet there are many innovative ways of informing and training the public, victims and practitioners whether through art or theatre, through social media campaigns such as #metoo, or films, games and much more.

We are interested to hear about projects, research or other activities which have taken different or new approaches to raising awareness, or have adapted existed approaches to have a greater impact. Equally we would like proposals for workshops looking at how the impact of these campaigns has been or could be more effectively measured and how campaigns can be better followed up to maximise their impact.

Procedure and deadline

A workshop session is 1.5 hours in duration and needs to be given in English (translation will not be provided).

We most welcome interactive and creative working methods. For example:

* Panel session (debate with expert panel and participants)
* Debating session (plenary debate with participant using voting cards or interactive voting methods)
* Working session (mind mapping, Delphi method)
* Short training or instruction sessions (introducing skills or tools)
* Educative games or simulations (roleplaying, quiz, association cards, ‘dating’ show)
* Short movie/documentary
* Casuistic session (discussion of relevant issues using real life cases or victims’ stories)

Workshop proposals can be submitted by sending them to The last submisson date is the 12th of March 2018. If your organisation is interested in making a shorter presentation of 10-15 minutes instead of a full workshop, please consider submitting a suggestion for a Speakers’ Corner mini-workshop.

The Programme Committee will review the proposals using the following criteria:
*Conformity with the overall theme and focus of the VSE conference
*Interactivity and creativity of the proposed workshop format or working method
*Equal representation of the all the topics in the programme

All submitters/contributors will be informed after the review and selection procedure is completed. We aim to inform all submitters/contributors on a rolling basis and final contributors will be informed as soon as possible after the deadline 12th of March. The workshop programme will be published on the conference website after all submitters/contributors are informed.

If you have any questions, please contact