A referral mechanism is the means of connecting victims of crime and the support services that will best help them recover from the events that led to the individual becoming a victim. In order to help victims of crime, a victim centric approach is necessary.
To meet the needs of victims, access to support must be ensured as a right. However, regardless of the role appropriate support plays in meeting needs, many victims never reach the services who can help them.
Recognising the importance of referral systems, the EU Victims Directive clearly calls upon Member States to facilitate the referral of victims, by the competent authority that first receives the complaint and by other relevant entities, to victim support services.
A major obstacle to the implementation of referral mechanisms is the lack of well-designed policies and procedures. This is in addition to the absence of professional education on victims needs and the availability of victim support services.
This preparatory document looks to assist policy makers and victim support organisations in establishing such referral systems.