E-PROTECT: Victim protection for children and adolescents
PROJECT PRESENTATION AND PUBLIC DISCUSSION: PROTECTION OF CHILD VICTIMS
On Thursday, September 6, 2018, the Vienna Center for Societal Security (VICESSE) organized a project presentation and panel discussion on victim protection for children and adolescents in the Concordia Press Club. The event featured the EU project E-PROTECT (Enhancing Protection of Child Victims of Crime). Maria Stern (Liste Pilz), Barbara Neudecker (Fachstelle für Prozessbegleitung für Kinder und Jugendliche), Astrid Podsiadlowski (FRA - European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights) and Friedrich Kovar (Human Rights Coordinator of the Vienna Police) discussed the current status of the victim protection in Austria and EU harmonization in the area of victim protection. The panel was moderated by Reinhard Kreissl, Managing Director of VICESSE.
E-PROTECT: AN EU PROJECT TO STRENGTHEN THE PROTECTION OF MINOR PERFORMS IN CRIMINAL PROCEEDINGS
As part of the E-PROTECT project, five organizations from Bulgaria, Austria, Greece, Romania and Italy are working on optimizing national implementations of the EU Victims' Protection Directive (Directive 2012/29/EU). The aim of the project is to raise awareness of the rights of underage victims and to strengthen the exchange of experts in the area of victim protection. In the first year of the two-year project, the organizations analyzed the legal scope and quality of the implementation of the Victims' Directive in a total of 10 Member States. The project reports focus on the one hand on difficulties and on the other hand on best practice examples in the implementation process - both legally and practically. Particular attention is paid to the implementation of special protection measures for underage victims in criminal proceedings, such as the avoidance of repeated questioning by different institutions, or the use of appropriate language and premises. Above all, these measures are designed to prevent re-traumatization, as well as secondary and repeated victimization.
E-PROTECT: PRELIMINARY PROJECT RESULTS
The analysis shows that the legal implementation of the Victims' Protection Directive in the Member States studied has led to positive developments. As part of the implementation of the directive, new rights were standardized, existing rights were expanded and existing rights were systematized. In addition, the reports pinpoint problem areas in the practical implementations. The main challenges are the coordination and cooperation of various institutional actors, as well as the transnational harmonization of quality standards in victim protection work. It is crucial to include the country-specific context factors in which victim protection takes place in EU policy-making. As a result, international standards, such as the child-friendly justice system defined by the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, can be established sustainably in the European Union.
NETWORKING EXPERTS: ONLINE PLATFORM AND UPCOMING SEMINARS
In order to achieve the project's goal, the online platform www.childprotect.eu was developed, which provides comprehensive information on victim protection in the five EU Member States. This platform will continue to evolve throughout the project to create a digital space for multidisciplinary exchange between professionals in the field of victim protection. There will also be seminars and networking meetings between experts in all partner countries. In Austria, seminars in Vienna, Linz and Salzburg will be held in October and November 2018, as well as follow-up seminars in the early summer of 2019 by the Austrian project partner VICESSE. The aim is, among other things, to work with experts to develop an individual assessment method that meets the needs of children.