Petra Vitousova

Organization: 
Bily Kruh Bezpeci
Year founded: 
1991
Country: 
Czech Republic
Website: 

Bílý Kruh Bezpecí’s mission is to help victims of crime by providing advice centres and 24-hour hotlines throughout the Czech Republic.

Focus: Human Rights
Geographic Area of Impact: Czech Republic
Model: Leveraged Non-Profit
Number of Direct Beneficiaries: 12,040 (2010)
Annual Budget: US$ 491,205 (2010)
Recognition: Social Entrepreneur of the Year, 2001

Background
Violent crime has increased dramatically in the Czech Republic over the past few decades, with no response mechanisms in place to address the multiple and complex psychological, legal and economic needs of victims. Vitousova mobilized a group of lawyers, psychologists, social workers and other professionals to donate their time and expertise to help victims free of charge, and this volunteer-based support network became Bílý Kruh Bezpecí (BKB).

Innovation and Activities
BKB is the first organization of its kind in the Czech Republic, providing individuals with the necessary services to make well-informed decisions concerning their legal and personal options as victims of criminal behaviour. Through advice centres located in several locations in the country, victims are offered emotional support, free counselling, legal aid and practical advice about the prosecutorial process.

BKB consists of some 260 professionals, including lawyers, psychologists, psychiatrists, judges, police officers and social workers, who volunteer at one of nine advice centres. The organization runs a 24-hour helpline for crime victims, and an intervention centre and 24-hour helpline for victims of domestic violence, known as DONA. Since being established in 2001, the DONA helpline has received more than 37,000 calls.

One of the BKB goals is to improve the legal status of victims in criminal proceedings. It therefore offers training programmes for police officers, judges, medical staff, social workers, university students and staff members at shelters, designed to raise awareness and sensitivity to the rights and needs of victims.

In September 2011 BKB celebrated its twentieth anniversary, during which time it has supported Czech Republic crime victims through 126,538 contacts, including phone calls and face-to-face counselling. In 2012 BKB will open a new advice centre in Jihlava, its twelfth working establishment.