Developing an EU Training Module for the Victims Directive

The Victims’ Rights Alliance along with other key stakeholders are engaging with the Irish Council for Civil Liberties to help identify training needs for lawyers on the needs, rights and interests of victims of crime.

BACKGROUND

The project is funded by the European Commission and is intended to support the training of European lawyers, prosecutors and the judiciary (if appropriate in the Member State) on the needs and rights of victims of crime as provided for by Directive 2012/29/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 October 2012 establishing minimum standards on the rights, support and protection of victims of crime (hereinafter the “Victims’ Directive”). It is envisaged that the delivery of training on the provisions of the Victims’ Directive will contribute to the successful implementation of the legislation.

This project will greatly increase victims’ access to justice in criminal proceedings by focusing on the training of stakeholders who have a key role to play in implementing the Directive.

PROJECT PARTNERS

Spanning five jurisdictions across the EU, the project will be led by the Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL) (key member of the Victims’ Rights Alliance [VRA]), in conjunction with partner organisations, the Bar Council of Ireland, the Law Society of Ireland, APAV (Portugal), Human Rights Monitoring Institute (HRMI) (Lithuania), the Peace Institute (Slovenia), the Department of Justice, Hungary. In addition, associate partner organisations the Platform for International Cooperation on Undocumented Migrants (PICUM) and Victim Support Europe (VSE) will lend their specific expertise to the project group.

THE AIM OF THE PROJECT

The core objective of the project is the provision of training in line with Article 25 (3) of the Victims Directive which provides that ‘with due respect for the independence of the legal profession, Member States shall recommend that those responsible for the training of lawyers make available both general and specialist training to increase the awareness of lawyers of the needs of victims’.

The provision of training, guidance and best practice methodologies will raise awareness and understanding of the rights afforded to victims under the Victims’ Directive.

This project will be delivered through active engagement and multi-agency partnership with key stakeholders within the five criminal justice systems.

PROJECT ACTIVITIES

The project will be centred on a training programme, involving lawyers across all jurisdictions (and other key criminal justice stakeholders depending on the country concerned). The training programme will first be delivered in Ireland and subsequently modified to enable delivery relevant to the legal systems in Portugal, Lithuania, Slovenia and Hungary. Training materials will be developed, including an e-template course, and towards the end of the project lifespan, a report will be produced demonstrating the impact of the training.

To ensure the training methodologies meet best practice standards, the project partners will conduct a needs assessment across each jurisdiction to identify specific training needs. This comparative mapping is a crucial step to ensure that the training programme is relevant, and that it will address actual knowledge and skills gaps. The development of best practice methodologies, will assist in the consistent and coherent application of a best practice training model across Europe. The Commission will be provided with a document identifying training needs in these five jurisdictions.

The Irish set up is imperative to the integrity and success of the training model as the roll out of the training across the partner jurisdictions and the development of the e-template course will be predicated on a best practice model developed in Ireland.

The ICCL is working with the Bar Council of Ireland and the Irish Law Society to develop a training programme which focuses on the needs and rights of victims of crime, pursuant to the Victims Directive. As part of that process, the Victims’ Rights Alliance along with other key stakeholders will help disseminate a survey to victims of crime to identify training needs for lawyers.

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