One of the most important milestones of the BeSecure-FeelSecure(BSFS) project was successfully completed in May 2021 with the establishment of the Crime Victims Information Unit (METHE) in the Municipality of Piraeus.
The Unit’s purpose is to provide holistic support to victims of any type of crime and their relatives.
The provided services include a) individual evaluations by a social worker, b) sessions with a psychologist and / or a social worker, c) referrals to competent local bodies, d) legal advice, information and guidance on rights, procedures, laws, as well as useful information about the context of the criminal justice system.
The Unit was established within the framework of the BSFS project under the guidance of the Laboratory of Urban Criminology of Panteion University and provides the expertise of an experienced interdisciplinary team of: (2) Social Workers, (1) Psychologist and (1) Lawyer. The Unit will also be supported by (2) volunteers.
At the same time, the effective operation of the Unit is based on a stable network of synergies of important stakeholders – both institutional and social – of the Municipality of Piraeus.
Already in September 2021, a wide meeting was held in the Piraeus Town Hall in order to inform about the operation and services of the Unit and to define the framework of cooperation.
In addition, the 1st training session to the staff of the Unit was conducted in July 2021 with great success.
The Mayor of Piraeus, Mr. Ioannis Moralis, stated:
“The issue of urban security and the successful prevention and handling of delinquency cases is a challenge, but also a priority for our city. In order to ensure an urban daily life without violence and delinquency and to increase the sense of safety of citizens, we are implementing from 2019 the European project, “Be Secure Feel Secure (BSFS)”. It promotes a holistic approach on urban security, as it includes spatial and social interventions, utilizes technology as a channel of communication between citizens, authorities and local bodies and involves the main and secondary urban stakeholders in order to achieve its goals.
At the same time, besides the challenge of improving urban security and crime prevention in the city, it is equally important to manage the victimization cases of our fellow citizens and provide them with help and support.
In this manner, we have established the Crime Victims Information Unit in Piraeus, which aims to provide beneficiaries with useful information about the reported crime, legal and psychological counseling, information and proper guidance to other relevant bodies.
The innovative character of the Unit lies on the fact that it operates within the framework of the Municipality as well as that it is addressed to victims of any type of crime. “
The Deputy Mayor of Communication-Promotion and Media, with responsibilities on Utilization of European & National Resources (Planning and Development Directorate), Mrs. Andriana Zarakeli, stressed among others:
“The European project Be Secure – Feel Secure (BSFS) approaches the issue of urban security in an innovative and modern way. One of its primary goals is prevention. Thus, through advisory and informative methods, the project aims to reduce the feeling of fear and also the conditions that favor the delinquent behaviors at every level.
With the establishment of the Crime Victims Information Unit (METHE), we contribute to the great effort made by our Municipality to support victims of any type of crime, utilizing the opportunities given by European funding.
The municipal authorityof Piraeus is and will always be present in every effort aimed at supporting our vulnerable fellow citizens. With the right information, understanding, encouragement and active support to the victims, we can help to prevent crime but also deal with the consequences of a crime.“
The Deputy Mayor of Municipal Police and chairwoman of the Local Council for Crime Prevention of Piraeus, Mrs. Kyriaki Bourdakou, mentioned that:
“The Municipality of Piraeus – via the BeSecure-FeelSecure project- implements an innovative approach in reinforcing urban security and in promoting a positive perception of urban safety. The Crime Victims Information Unit (METHE) was established as part of the project and supports victims of all types of crime and their environment by providing useful information, psychological support and directions to other competent bodies, as well as legal advice.
The Municipality of Piraeus sets the issue of urban security and safety high on its agenda according to the standards of most European cities. In fact, at the recent International Conference on Urban Security in Nice, France, the Municipality of Piraeus – the only representative from Greece, had the opportunity to present its relevant actions, receiving very warm comments. It is worth noting that these actions are innovative for the current Greek reality and especially for Local Government. We are very proud that the Municipality of Piraeus implements a pioneering holistic approach to prevention of crime and we must all strive for its success.”
The Head of the Laboratory of Urban Criminology of Panteion University and scientific supervisor for BSFS, Prof. Christina Zarafonitou, stated:
“The BeSecure-FeelSecure program adopts a holistic approach based on participatory anti-crime policy, which promotes interoperability between institutional and social partners and citizens, with the fundamental goal of preventing crime at the local level and reducing fear and insecurity of citizens through a series of social, environmental and technological interventions.
In this context, special emphasis is given to the victims of crime and for this reason I am particularly pleased that my proposal for the creation of the Crime Victims Information Unit (METHE) in the Municipality of Piraeus was accepted.
It is an independent ‘front line’ service set up based on the special design of the Laboratory of Urban Criminology of Panteion University and under its scientific responsibility, in order to provide psychological support, legal advice and networking with competent bodies to victims of all types of crime and their immediate environment, if they have also suffered the consequences of victimization.
Its operation is an innovation in our country and is fully in line with Directive 2012/29 / EU of the European Parliament and of the European Council establishing minimum standards on the rights, support and protection of victims of crime.
The intended cooperation with criminal justice institutions as well as with public services guarantees the success of the project in an expanded context, through preventing repeated victimization, reducing the vulnerability of crime victims, increasing the sense of safety and increasing the citizens’ trust both to justice and to local municipal services.”