Closing conference – “Advancing Access to Rights under Victims' Directive for Persons with Disabilities (ARVID)”

Results of the ARVID project, with Croatian Law Centre as beneficiary and Ministry of Justice and Public Administration as a project partner, were presented at the international conference "Advancing Access to Rights under Victims' Directive for Persons with Disabilities: recommendations and their implementation" on 25 September 2021.

Conference participants were addressed by Ms Vedrana Šimundža Nikolić, Assistant Minister at the Ministry of Justice and Public Administration. 
In her speech, Ms Nikolić highlighted the importance of ensuring the application of the rights of victims of criminal offences in practice, which can be done by informing the victims about their rights and assessing their needs on time, by a quality cooperation of competent authorities and services, and by adequate training of all the experts coming in contact with the victims. Moreover, she emphasized the extreme importance of sensitisation about the issues, problems and situations victims are facing. 

The conference included the presentation of project results and joint recommendations for Croatia and Slovenia, as well as panel discussions on the challenges posed by project recommendations and proposals for addressing them:
  1. Inclusion of persons with disabilities in the system of support for victims of crimes and misdemeanours
  2. Adjustment of the operations of authorities conducting criminal and misdemeanour proceedings to persons with disabilities
The project “Advancing Access to Rights under Victims' Directive for Persons with Disabilities (ARVID)” was financed by the European Union under the Justice Programme, and was implemented in Croatia and Slovenia. The project coordinator was the Croatian Law Centre; Croatian partners were the Ministry of Justice and Public Administration, the Ombudswoman for Persons with Disabilities and the NGO Victim and Witness Support Service Croatia, while Slovenian partners were NGOs Peace Institute and ALTRA. The Human Rights Ombudsman of the Republic of Slovenia supported the project. 

The aim of the project was to research into the level of participation of persons with disabilities as victims and witnesses in criminal proceedings in Croatia and Slovenia as well as potential problems limiting their full participation. 

Results of the research were used in all subsequent project activities, aiming to:
  • develop and advocate for improved support services for persons with disabilities, including all the necessary adjustments;
  • develop knowledge and tools for the direct use by persons with disabilities who are victims of crimes and misdemeanours, and by professionals and institutions whose role is to assist them in gaining full access to the rights guaranteed by Directive 2012/29/EU establishing minimum standards on the rights, support and protection of victims of crime.

The following sets of activities were implemented under the project:
  • a survey and interviews with persons with disabilities, and with the representatives of the NGOs representing them, to identify the problems these individuals face in accessing their rights as victims of crime, and to develop the recommendations on how to eliminate those problems 
  • development of information material for persons with disabilities on accessing their rights as victims of crimes
  • training modules for: (a) professional stakeholders in the justice system with mandates related to individual aspects of the victims’ rights for persons with disabilities; (b) representatives of umbrella organizations of persons with disabilities, and other organizations supporting persons with disabilities in accessing their rights under the Victims’ Directive. Information modules and materials were produced for the use by ombudsman institutions in HR and SI for informing and training official stakeholders on the rights of persons with disabilities in the justice system.
  • dissemination and advocacy, including an international conference, meetings with relevant stakeholders in HR and SI, development of information materials and their dissemination in the participating countries and in the EU.

For more information on the results of the project, including reports, recommendations and other materials, please visit the following link: