Launch of the EU campaign “I Will Keep My Eyes Open”

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With the central message “I will keep my eyes open”, the European Commission launched an information campaign to raise awareness among citizens about the rights of victims of crime, the available assistance and support services, as well as the possibilities to report a crime. 

The purpose of the campaign is to encourage and raise awareness among family members, friends, but also the wider environment on how to recognise victims, support them and help them report violence.

The campaign covers civil society institutions and organisations that support victims and witnesses of all crimes, in particular child victims of violence, victims of gender-based violence, anti-LGBTIQ hate crimes and xenophobic hate crimes. Campaign partners at national level are the Ministry of Justice and Public Administration, the Victim and Witness Support Service Croatia and White Circle Croatia, a victim support association.

“The Ministry of Justice and Public Administration has been developing the system of victim and witness support in Croatia for 17 years now, and has facilitated, among other things, the work of the National Call Centre for Victims of Crimes and Misdemeanours 116 006, as well as the Network of Support and Cooperation for Victims and Witnesses of Crimes, which consists of 10 civil society organisations in 17 counties. As part of the support provided to victims and witnesses, the Service for Victim and Witness Support has informed 9,640 victims of the release of their perpetrators from prison, while the Victim and Witness Support Departments of county courts have provided support to 46,962 victims and made 50,660 telephone contacts since 2008”, said Ms Nikica Hamer Vidmar, Head of Service for Victim and Witness Support within the Ministry of Justice and Public Administration.

She also invited the victims to seek help with confidence: “The victim and witness support system is there for every victim. It is important to encourage them to seek help. Sometimes one conversation with our experts and volunteers can make a significant difference. Our message to everyone is: turn to us with confidence, you are not alone!”

In order to highlight and warn of the importance of reporting violence, a no blinking challenge entitled “I will keep my eyes wide open” was organised, involving representatives of campaign partners, representatives of institutions and organisations that support victims of violence and campaign ambassadors – singer Maja Šuput, influencers Marco Cuccurin and Dario Marčac, who were the first ones to express their support for victims of violence, and citizens were then also invited to participate. The challenge, which is taking place in ten cities across Europe, was inspired by the original performance of artist Marina Abramović, and is conceived in such a way that there are chairs at the table for two people to look at each other without blinking, while the faces are projected on a large screen, where the campaign message states their pledge to keep their eyes open to see and help victims of violence. 

The campaign, carried out at international level by the European Commission, in cooperation with Victim Support Europe (VSE), is part of the European Commission’s first EU Strategy on Victims’ Rights, which aims to ensure that victims of all crimes are informed about their rights and how to exercise them: the right of the victim to be understood and to understand all communication in which he or she is involved, as well as the right of victims of all crimes to be informed of their rights and how to exercise them; the right to free and confidential support and assistance services; the right to obtain information; the right to participate in criminal proceedings; the right to protection and individual assessment, and the right of the victim’s family members to access support and assistance services and the right to protection.

The need to raise awareness of victims’ rights and the available support and assistance services has been confirmed by the European Commission’s representative survey conducted in the countries participating in the campaign. It included more than 4,000 respondents aged 18 to 30, of which 316 in Croatia. 

The survey showed that 51 % of respondents in Croatia do not know that victims of crime in the EU are protected by special rights, and only about one third of those who are aware of this are familiar with these rights. A crime would “probably” be reported by 95 % of respondents if they were the victim or if it were a crime against a child, but the percentage decreases when it comes to gender-based violence (71 %). Just over half of the respondents would report that they were a victim of xenophobic (69 %) or anti-LGBTIQ hate crime (63 %). While the majority of respondents are aware of the right to protection, fear is the main reason why they would not report a crime (49 %).

“Each of us can become a victim of violence. That is why it is important that we know our rights and who we can turn to for help, whether we are a victim of violence ourselves or one of our loved ones is. In the European Union, we want victims’ voices to be heard, we want to create an environment where victims feel safe, understood, supported, treated fairly, with dignity and respect. The EU guarantees rights to victims of all types of violence, regardless of where in the Union the crime is committed. The goal of this campaign is to help victims and all those supporting them to better understand these rights, but also to encourage them to invoke these rights, as well as to report violence", said Andrea Čović Vidović, Media Manager for the European Commission in Croatia.

The campaign is supported by B.a.B.e., Centre for Peace, Nonviolence and Human Rights, Center for Peace Studies, Hrabri telefon, Zagreb Child and Youth Protection Centre, Zagreb Pride and Women’s Room, which provide professional support to victims and their loved ones. In Croatia, counselling, emotional and psychological support, legal counselling, shelters and helplines are available to victims free of charge, and so are some other services depending on the scope of individual organisations. The campaign is also supported by the Ombudswoman for Gender Equality and the City of Zagreb.

All information on support organisations, crimes and victims’ rights in Croatia and other countries is available at:

Apart from Croatia, the campaign is being conducted in nine other EU Member States: Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Estonia, Latvia, Hungary, Poland, Romania and Slovakia.