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24 Sep 2020 by Ludwig Boltzmann

RiVi Jour Fixe: Improved support for people affected by violence

Within the framework of the RiVi project “Rights of Victims of Survived Bodily Harm and Improved Access to Clinical Forensic Examinations“, the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute of Human Rights organised a Jour Fixe meeting on 24th September 2020 at the Floridsdorf Hospital in Vienna. This Jour Fixe brought together various stakeholders in the field of victims’ rights, such as medical professionals and representatives of victim support services.

The RiVi project has been running since February 2019 and aims at strengthening the rights of victims of crime in the light of the EU victims’ rights directive. In this regard, a key element of the RiVi project is the sensitisation of medical professionals towards the importance of clinical forensic examinations. This increased awareness is intended to improve victims’ access to such examinations, in the course of which injuries can be professionally documented. Hereby evidence can be secured, which is particularly important to reinforce the position of victims in possible future court proceedings.

The event was introduced by Sabine Mandl, senior researcher at the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute of Human Rights and expert in the field of women’s rights and gender-based violence. Both a legal and a sociological perspective were used to address the key question “What is violence?”. Following this introduction, Andrea Berzlanovich, forensic doctor and head of the department of forensic gerontology at the Centre for Forensic Medicine of the Medical University of Vienna, held a presentation about clinical forensic examinations. Providing practical case studies, she illustrated the process of taking evidence as well as documentation and archiving. Finally, Sabine Gasser and Bernadette Schmidl, representatives of 24-Hours Women’s Emergency Helpline of the City of Vienna, highlighted the importance of client-centred communication. This approach particularly promotes the psychosocial support for affected persons.

The Jour Fixe informed participants about victims’ rights and the importance of clinical forensic examinations. In addition, it improved the cooperation between the involved stakeholders stated above. This multidisciplinary approach is of crucial significance to provide professional support to victims. Besides, two more Jour Fixe meetings will be held in Vienna within the next months and comparable events will take place in partner countries of the RiVi project, namely Germany, Italy and the Czech Republic.

The agenda of the Jour Fixe is available in the download section of this article.

Click here to access further information about the RiVi project.

a. F.l.t.r. Andrea Berzlanovich, Sabine Mandl, Sabine Gasser, Bernadette Schmidl, Agnes Taibl.