EULEX Training on Peer Support for the Kosovo Correctional Service

09 December 2022

From 5 to 9 December, the Correctional Unit of the European Union Rule of Law Mission in Kosovo (EULEX) organized an informative session for 12 Directors of Kosovo Correctional Facilities and a four-day training on Peer Support for 25 Kosovo Correctional Service (KCS) staff, conducted by Swedish Prison and Probation Service’s experts, Susanne Rodmar and Ulla Le Vau.

The training focused on how a peer-to-peer support system can reduce the possible psychological and physical harmful effects caused by traumatic events - such as threats, violence, or self-harm-, which might be experienced by KCS staff while working with prisoners.

The Chief of EULEX’s Correctional Unit, Ritva Vahakoski, highlighted: “The presence of trained peer support leaders within every institution of the KCS is expected to help provide emotional support to staff so that they can better recover from the negative consequences of critical incidents. This can strengthen staff’s resilience and create a safer environment for everyone.”

The Swedish expert Le Vau explained that a peer-to-peer support mechanism can also prevent Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder: “When an incident occurs and severely affects correctional staff members, the peer support mechanism decreases the chances of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. This is very important as nobody knows how they will be affected”.

Expert Rodmar pointed out how trained peer support leaders can help in understanding the importance of taking better care of each other and getting closer to each other when traumatic situations arise: “There are always different reactions caused by difficult events, and those reactions shouldn’t be ignored. Instead, they should be taken care of. Our goal is to teach different methods and tools, so that they can help their colleagues,” Rodmar said. 

The Peer Support training is part of EULEX’s Correctional Unit commitment to supporting the KCS in its efforts to provide rehabilitation of prisoners in a safe and secure environment.