OSCE Mission assists Serbian authorities in strengthening victim and witness support system
The OSCE Mission to Serbia, the Republic Public Prosecutor’s Office, the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands and the Victimology Society of Serbia NGO marked the European Day for Victims of Crime with a conference held in Belgrade on 22 February 2017.
During the conference, the OSCE Mission and its partners presented their accomplishments so far in assisting the Republic Public Prosecutor’s Office in introducing mechanisms to encourage witnesses to testify while at the same time counteracting the negative effects of secondary victimization during the criminal justice procedure.
The accomplishments include the assistance provided in establishing an Information and Support Service for victims and witnesses of crime, facilitating the drafting of a communications manual for prosecutors and support officers, and organizing a comprehensive training programme for prosecutors and victim support officers to better understand the needs of victims in their day-to-day work.
“All crime victims should be treated with the same respect and empathy and enjoy clear rights to information, protection and access to support services,” said Ambassador Andrea Orizio, the Head of the OSCE Mission to Serbia. “By broadening the network of victim and witness support services, societies better protect anyone who becomes the victim of a crime, and place protection rights at the heart of the criminal justice system.”
Since 2015, with the contribution of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, the OSCE Mission to Serbia has been supporting the establishment of a comprehensive national crime victim and witness support system in Serbia, with a special focus on institutionalizing a victim support service at Higher Public Prosecution Offices across the country.