As part of the Protasis project, IARS conducted an independent evaluation on the training programme in order to assess its impact on the everyday working life of police officers. This evaluation specifically assessed the curriculum design, the organisation and delivery of the training, the trainers’ capacity, as well as the benefits and possible obstacles identified by the trainees to put into practice the knowledge and skills acquired through the training.

The training and capacity building programme took place in Greece, Italy and Portugal, with a total of 239 police officers taking part in their respective countries. The training and capacity building programme was comprised of knowledge-oriented seminars, skills-oriented workshops and signposting and referral pathways seminars. Our training evaluation and impact assessment utilised survey data collected from five different questionnaires, which the participants filled in during the training. Subsequently, all the completed questionnaires were scanned in and shared with IARS, who then with the help of their invaluable interns, proceeded to code every piece of data from each questionnaire. After this, the next phase was the analysis of the data, which consisted of two parts. The first part was an evaluation based on the participant and trainer questionnaires, and the second part provided an impact assessment based on the pre- and post-questionnaires.

IARS positively contributed to the evaluation and impact assessment through the assessment and identification of key findings. Of these revealed that participants were very satisfied with the training elements, the structure and content of the training and the interactive tools, activities and exercises. Overall, we were able to conclude that all the components of the training programme were between satisfactory and very satisfactory. In particular, the victim sensitive and gender-oriented aspects of the training were praised throughout the data. With the delivery of the training, all the trainers reached a consensus that the Victim’s Services catalogue has provided the participants with a better understanding of services available to victims. Finally, a significant finding discovered how a majority of the trainers observed a positive attitude change in participants during the training.

Reflecting back on the data analysis, the most significant and impactful observation for IARS has most certainly been the increase in confidence levels towards tackling various victim-sensitive cases prior and post training. It has been remarkable to discover that participants feel more confident and better equipped with the skills and methods necessary to support victims, especially through ensuring that all victims have access to victim support services based on their specific needs. In addition, we were able to assess some other highly positive influences as a result of the training. A significant majority of the participants believed that the training could contribute to raising awareness and good practices of supporting victims of crime. Most importantly, to ensure the promotion of good practices, over half of the participants would share the material and the knowledge acquired from the training with their colleagues.

All in all, evaluating the training programme to assess its impact on the everyday working life of police officers has proved to be a very rewarding journey. To be part of a project which works to improve the training for professionals to better meet the specific needs of vulnerable victims has been a great honor. Last but not least, we at IARS hope that the findings and recommendations of the evaluation will assist in the further enhancement of the training programme.