Victim Support Finland
Victim Support Finland (RIKU) is an organisation based on a cooperation agreement, which has started its operations in 1994. It is maintained by the Finnish Red Cross, the Federation of Mother and Child Homes, the Finnish Association for Mental Health, the Mannerheim League for Child Welfare, the Finnish Federation of Settlement Houses and the National Church Council. The operations are coordinated nationwide by the Finnish Association for Mental Health.
RIKU is a member of the European umbrella organisation, Victim Support Europe (VSE), advocating on behalf of all victims of crime. The organisation has more than 20 member states and its central office is located in Brussels.
RIKU’s management board has representatives from all the implementing organisations and the National Church Council. In addition, there is a member from the Ministry of Justice, as well as expert members from the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health and the National Police Board. RIKU’s executive manager operates on the management board as a presenter and the development manager as a secretary. Development director of The Federation of Mother and Child Homes and shelters Sari Laaksonen operates as chairman.
The Ministry of Justice decided on 21.12.2017 to issue a public service obligation to Victim Support Finland for providing general victim services in Finland during the years 2018-2027. These services should be available free of charge and confidentially in accordance with the needs of the victim and the family members of the victim. The services should be available before, during and for an appropriate time after criminal proceedings.
RIKU’s values are customer focus, accountability, reliability, equality and the promotion of cooperation and the culture of caring in the society.
RIKU’s main operations and services
RIKU’s main operation is to improve the position of the victim of crime, his/her loved ones and the witness of the criminal case by influencing and producing support services. We aim to operate as the arbiter and interpreter of needs on behalf of the victim of crime.
One method of influence is to participate in the work of working groups that improve the position of victims of crime together with the authorities and other third sector operators. Statements given on the position and needs of the victim of crime, training, communication, promotion of research concerning the position of victims of crime and participation in public debate are also RIKU’s main operations.
In terms of support services, RIKU offers practical advice and psychological support for those that have become a victim of crime or attempted crime, their loved ones and witnesses of criminal cases. We help the victim of crime operate according to his/her rights and we support him/her in coping with the experience of crime.
The operations are based on professionally guided voluntary work, which complements existing services while avoiding the production of overlapping services. The aim is the appropriate, humane and equal treatment of victims of crime. Services are produced as nationwide phone and online assistance services, as well as personal services at our 30 service points around Finland.
RIKU customer work’s principles
- Respect the victim’s right to self-determination
- Observe confidentiality
- Treat all victims of crime equally
RIKU also commits to following the general policies and principles of Victim Support Finland, the ethical principles of voluntary phone and online assistance, as well as the ethical principles of online assistance prepared by NuSuVeFo (Forum for online work focusing on young people).
Victim Support Finland (RIKU) operates all around the country
In addition to a central office, Victim Support Finland has 7 regional offices and 31 service points around the country. Almost 70 mainly social sector professionals work at these locations either full-time or part-time. There are over 400 individuals working voluntarily at Victim Support Finland all over the country. 30 of them are lawyers. An important additional resource is the close collaboration with authorities, such as the police, and other bodies interacting with the victims.
RIKU produces materials
RIKU has published a book Manual for Victims of Crime. In addition, RIKU has published guides, such as A practical legal guide for victims of violent crime, Encountering a victim of crime with a foreign background and The Criminal procedure guide for young victims of crime. RIKU also has an informative website aimed for young people www.riku.fi/nuoret, where you can find, e.g. various videos, games and tests.
The main funders are Finland’s Slot Machine Association RAY and the government.