The PROTASIS training program aims to efficiently highlight and address the needs of both victims and professionals and to have a significant effect in bridging the existing gap of the uneven treatment of victims and the implementation of the Victims’ Directive across Europe.

The Training Manual, entitled “Towards a victim-centered police response“, constitutes the final output of the project and is the result of a compilation of knowledge and research acquired from previous EU funded projects, interdisciplinary research and theories, the authors’ academic and research expertise and their practical experience with the targeted population – victims of crimes with special needs – as well as the exchange of good practices acquired during a 2-day work visit in London. The insights on the benefits, challenges, obstacles, and the first-hand information and experience offered by the UK police officers during the study visit were used to inform the design and development of the materials and the pilot training for police officers.

The training program and material was piloted to more than 200 police officers in Italy, Portugal, and Greece, who followed 20 hours of training seminars and workshops. After the completion of the pilot trainings, a training evaluation and impact assessment was conducted by the IARS International Institute, an independent to the training delivery partner. The scientific evaluation assessed the training program and aimed to estimate its impact on the everyday working life of the police officers. The findings and conclusions assisted in the further enhancement of the training program and material.

Drawing on interdisciplinary research and theories, this manual aspires to serve as a practical tool towards a victim-centered approach in the training of police officers, criminal justice authorities, and first-instance professionals by adopting a holistic perspective which combines theoretical knowledge and practical skills.

The manual comprises six modules developed in a sequence that links each issue to the next, progressively building the knowledge and capacity of the participants through a smooth transition from one topic to the next, from general knowledge to specific skills. In addition, a set of Annexes with handouts for the training delivery can be found at the end of the manual.

In particular, the PROTASIS Training Manual consists of the following six training modules:

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The content and interpretation of the Victims’ Directive

This module introduces participants to the European framework on the protection and support of crime victims, focuses on the roles and obligations of the police as described in the Victims’ Directive, and highlights the relevant benefits for both victims and police officers.
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Understanding victimization

Key concepts of victim psychology and victimology constitute the main focus of this module. The costs and the impact of victimization are presented, stressing the issues, problems, and needs that victims face during their interaction with the criminal justice system. It further looks into the link between secondary victimization and the different perspectives that victims and law enforcement authorities often have, as well as the framework of the victim-witness interviewing.
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Gender- and child-specific issues

This module examines gender specific and child specific issues in relation to victims of crimes. With an emphasis on domestic and sexual violence affecting women and children, the module seeks to untangle the topic’s complex dynamic involving the psychological responses to violence, the victims’ needs, vulnerabilities in victimization, increased risk factors, and reasons for non-disclosing and non-reporting victimization.
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Interaction with victims and communication skills

Drawing interdisciplinary information from various disciplines and good practices, the central elements of this module include basic principles, practical techniques and tools for effective communication and interaction with vulnerable victims. The setting of an initial contact with a victim, building rapport, posing questions, and active observation and listening to the victims’ narrative of events, are some of the topics covered using practical examples and experiential exercises.
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Individual assessment of victims’ needs

The content of this module covers the application of Victims’ Directive article on individual assessment (Article 22), by providing the participants with practical tools and skills for effectively assessing the victims’ needs during their first contact with the victim.
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Signposting and Referral Pathways

During this module participants are presented with information on available support services and effective techniques for safe referral. With the view of encouraging the development of referral pathways, networking and cross-sectoral cooperation with representatives from victim support organizations is an integral part of this module.