CounteR Interacts with Stakeholders Supporting Victims of Crimes in Bulgaria

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Together with more than 30 representatives of Bulgarian public bodies working on victimisation, a CounteR Project member from EI attended a roundtable discussion, entitled “Victimisation and Victims of Crime: Challenges to Legislators, the Practice, and Society” that took place on February 20, 2023, in Sofia/Bulgaria.

The event was organised by the Institute of Conflict Resolution (ICR) on the occasion of the #EuropeanDayforVictimsofCrime – February 22. Participants in the roundtable included representatives of Bulgaria’s Ministry of Justice, National Police, General Prosecutor’s Office, magistrates, judges, lawyers, syndicates, UNICEF, as well as other CSOs working on child and LGBTQ+ protection and drug prevention. During the conference, new research findings were highlighted, along with outstanding unsolved problems, related to the protection of, and support for, victims of various types of crime. The aim of the conference was to consolidate efforts to support victims of crimes in accordance with European standards. The topics on the agenda also included victimisation in cybercrime, as well as protecting groups vulnerable to radicalisation and extremism.

An EI representative participated in the “Radicalisation, Extremism, Vulnerable Groups and Victims: The Need for Cooperation” Panel, where he provided a detailed overview of the CounteR Project’s goals, objectives, and its 19 consortium members from 11 countries, stressing on how EC’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme offers, through the projects it supports, excellent opportunities for cooperation between LEAs, research and academic institutions, and the IT companies and ISPs, as is the case of CounteR. The roundtable attendees agreed that the various stakeholders should enhance intra-institutional dialogue and join efforts to improve the efficiency of the protection of victims of crime.

In this context, the participants were informed about CounteR’s scientific publications, available on the project’s website, and their value for stakeholders from across the EU – specifically related to psychosocial factors of radicalisation and the vulnerability indicators.

The EI representative also presented CounteR’s Cluster Group on LinkedIn and used the opportunity to invite the participants to join the Group, participate in the planned future webinars, and follow CounteR on LinkedIn and Twitter. The post-presentation discussion focused on legal and ethical aspects of AI in law enforcement, the specific measures for protecting victims of radicalisation and cybercrime, and – notably – the innovative methods, used by CounteR’s consortium members to foster cooperation between researchers, tech partners, LEAs, and CSOs. The roundtable participants concluded that CounteR sets a good example of how stakeholders from different sides of the ecosystem can come together, collaborate, and innovate jointly.

Founded in 2000, the Institute of Conflict Resolution (ICR) – which convened the roundtable – is a Sofia-based association of lawyers, researchers and university professors that aims at establishing new forms of conflict resolution as a legitimate part of the Bulgarian legal system. A member of Bulgaria’s National Association of Mediators (NAM), ICR promotes restorative justice, provides licenced training for mediators, and supports victims of crime.

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