Toolbox - Workpackages

Whether you are working for example in an international organisation, a governmental or non-governmental body, a think tank, or a research institute and are looking for relevant partners in international projects, HEUNI is able to provide expertise on various questions related to criminal policy. For example:


It depends on what you are looking at. Our unique compilation of comparable data on offences, perpetrators, prosecuted cases, convictions and sanctions aggregated by gender and age in 41 European countries for the years 2007-2011, shows how the police deal with crime, what decisions are made by prosecutors and how many offenders are convicted. See more at Collection and analysis of crime statistics


Yes it can! Our innovative research on recruitment practices and the roles of recruitment agencies and employers in the exploitation of migrant labour (in Finland, Sweden, Estonia and Lithuania) shows that information and awareness-raising are key to the prevention of exploitation and trafficking. See more at Qualitative research and Guidelines.

WHAT IS THE IMPORTANCE OF TRUST IN THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM? Why do people obey the law? Despite the prevalent belief, it is not because they fear being punished if they break the law, but because they believe that the law and the way it is administered is fair. The way that people are treated by the criminal justice system is crucial for strengthening “trust-based" criminal policy, and in this way improving the efficiency and fairness of criminal justice. HEUNI has developed indicators for the assessment of public confidence in criminal justice and fear of crime. See more at Indicators and cost estimates.

The packages contained in HEUNI’s toolbox are meant as examples of possible collaboration, depending on the services needed. Our tools can be tailored according to the circumstances and needs within a given context.

HEUNI’s tools advance the achievement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Sustainable Development Goals

HEUNI’s activities are planned and conducted within the framework of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations in 2015.

HEUNI has an input in developing methodology for collection globally comparable data for the indicators measuring the progress of achieving the SDGs. Crime data as well as victimisation surveys provide data for assessing implementation of SDG goal 5, “Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls" as well as goal 16, “Promote peaceful and inclusive societies, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels".

HEUNI’s qualitative research brings out criminological phenomena’s and best practices related to eg. trafficking, gender based violence and corruption, and this information can be used to advance the SDGs.

HEUNI’s work on corporate social responsibility, labour exploitation, and labour trafficking can be used by states for training and awareness-raising, as well as reporting purposes, in relation to goal 8, “Promote inclusive and sustainable economic growth, employment and decent work for all. In respect of goal 11, “Sustainable cities and communities", HEUNI has a long tradition of promoting community-based sanctions, including the collection of data on the use of such sanctions.

Over the years, HEUNI has worked in particular with governmental policy-makers and research institutes in promoting fair, rational and humane criminal justice. HEUNI has been increasingly seeking to promote wider partnerships, and in this way is contributing to the implementation of goal 17, “Revitalise the global partnership for sustainable development".

Development of research methodologies

What: One of the strengths of HEUNI lies in its capacity to plan and conduct innovative comparative research projects, and to help in organizing the training of research staff in different countries in order to ensure a uniform understanding and application of the selected methodological approach.

Why: The phenomena of crime, crime prevention and criminal justice are often difficult to explain – to policymakers, to the media, and to the public. In order to gain a proper overview, data collection requires the innovative use of various research methods

Methodology: HEUNI has pioneered in the combining of quantitative and qualitative methods, along with the use of statistical information. Our projects have utilised multiple methods, such as thematic interviews, focus groups and document analysis.

HEUNI’s work has resulted in:

The development of survey methods on violence against women, including interviewer training modules.

The development of a methodology to study trafficking for the purpose of forced labour. HEUNI Report 67, HEUNI Report 68 and HEUNI Report 84

The development of a methodology to study the links between sham marriages and trafficking, i.e. exploitative sham marriages.HEUNI Report 82

Qualitative research

What: Interviews with victims of crime can help increase our understanding of the consequences and effects of victimization. Expert interviews offer insights into how laws are implemented in practice and what constraints there are.

Why: Qualitative evidence provides deeper and more personalized or detailed accounts of the phenomena under scrutiny.

Methodology: Qualitative thematic interviews, focus groups and document analysis.

HEUNI’s work has resulted in:

The definition of the term “exploitative sham marriage" and a better understanding of its links to human trafficking. Heuni report 82

Improved understanding of labour exploitation as a structural phenomena and as a form of corporate crime. HEUNI report 84

Collection and analysis of crime statistics

What: Compilation of comparable data on offences, perpetrators, prosecutions, convictions and sanctions, aggregated by e.g. regions, income levels, gender and age. We can create data banks, in-depth reports, concise briefs on crime trends regarding specific offences or larger overarching themes.

Why: Policy decisions on the criminal justice systems and crime prevention should be based on evidence-based data in order for criminal justice systems to be effective and rational.

Methodology: Data collection from administrative sources, validation of collected data, statistical analysis.

HEUNI’s work has resulted in:

International Statistics on Crime and Justice HEUNI report 64

European Sourcebook of Crime and Criminal Justice Statistics 2014 5th edition HEUNI report 80

Crime and Gender, a Study on How Men and Women Are Represented in International Crime Statistics HEUNI report 85

Victimization surveys

What: Victimization surveys help illustrate the dark figure of crime that is not reported to or recorded by the police or other authorities. Victimization surveys not only estimate the rates of persons who have been victims of crime, but also describe how the victim experienced it, along with the circumstances and consequences of the incident.

Why: Intimate partner violence and violence against women are examples of severely under-reported crimes. The true extent of these crimes and the impact that they have on society as a whole cannot be measured with official crime statistics. Furthermore, victimization surveys can describe the circumstances and consequences of incidents, which allows for more accurate international comparisons that are not limited by country-specific legal definitions of crime.

Methodology: Victimization surveys are based on representative random samples of the population by utilizing the most appropriate mode and sampling methods, depending on the resources and on the purposes of the survey.

HEUNI’s work has resulted in:

The European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) survey on violence against women in the EU. HEUNI provided expert advice and support for both the pilot and the final survey. HEUNI’s role was to develop the research tools (the questionnaire and fieldwork materials) and the interviewer training materials. HEUNI was also responsible for analysing the survey data and drafting the research report. Violence against women: an EU-wide survey. Main results reportOpens in new window

The European Union Safety Survey (EU-SASU) is an example of an earlier attempt at a Europe-wide crime victims survey. The survey was conducted between 2009 and 2011. HEUNI was centrally involved in drafting the research design (including sampling, the questionnaire, interviewing methods and field arrangements). HEUNI was responsible for testing the survey pilot in Finland. HEUNI Report No. 71

Indicators and cost estimates

What: Indicators help in evaluating the success of an organization or of a particular activity. Cost estimate calculations are useful in revealing the cost-benefit ration of specific policies or activities.

Why: Indicators and cost estimate tools are useful in identifying and determining the success of criminal justice systems or criminal justice policies, and can assist policy makers in formulating decisions related to the level and distribution of resources, and in setting priorities and strategies.

Methodology: By mixing methods drawing from sociology and economics, various indirect costs can be estimated, such as production losses caused by specific crime types, costs of society from lost economic output, and the physical and emotional impact of crime on the victims. The combination of using administrative data, and extrapolations with qualitative interviews also makes it possible to estimate the more direct costs which accumulate in the social, health and legal sectors.

HEUNI’s work has resulted in:

Indicators for the assessment of public confidence in criminal justice and fear of crime. These indicators can be used to measure confidence in criminal justice, and to support the development of more inclusionary criminal justice policies designed to secure commitment to the rule of law and thus compliance with the law. A survey-based indicator as well as tools for presenting and interpreting the indicators have been developed. HEUNI report 70

Cost estimate methods regarding rehabilitation of trafficking victims: Development of a cost calculation method at the municipal level to better estimate and understand the costs of the rehabilitation of trafficking victims. STROM II - CBSSOpens in new window

A joint research project with the Council of Europe, the Office of the Government Plenipotentiary for Equal Treatment of Poland and HEUNI (2013-2015) which assessed the direct and indirect societal costs of domestic and sexual violence against women in Poland. The study focused on the costs that public authorities and institutions incur in providing services including the criminal justice system, health care, and social sector, and the costs from loss of economic output due to homicide, absence from work, or incarceration. For more information contact heuni(at)


What: Guidelines offer a concrete tool for policy-makers and others, by providing examples and advice that is tailored to specific situations and procedures.

Why: HEUNI seeks to identify the lessons learned and best practices developed in Europe. Through conceptualization and analysis, HEUNI has developed different guidelines for the prevention of, or responding to, specific criminological issues.

HEUNI’s work has resulted in:

Guidelines for the prevention of abusive recruitment, exploitative employment and trafficking of migrant workers HEUNI Report No. 78

Guidelines for survey interviewers for the study of violence against women

HEUNI is currently developing national guidelines for the private sector on how to incorporate into their Corporate Social Responsibility frameworks, measures to counter trafficking for labour exploitation.

Assessment of criminal justice systems

What: Technical needs assessments of criminal justice systems or their components, for example victim support systems, legal aid, and the independence and integrity of the judiciary.

Why: Technical assistance may be needed to develop effective, rational and humane criminal justice systems based on United Nations standards and norms, and in order to meet the Sustainable Development Goals. Technical assistance has to be based on a thorough needs assessment.

Methodology: Quantitative research (interviews of the criminal justice actors, representatives of non-governmental organizations, etc.), quantitative analyses of criminal justice data, desk research on the legislative framework and adherence to international instruments, including United Nations standards and norms in criminal justice.

HEUNI’s work has resulted in:

An assessment of criminal justice services provided for victims of domestic violence in Viet Nam: An assessment of the quality and availability of criminal justice services provided for victims of domestic violence. The research also explored the views of police officers and legal aid officers, and victims of domestic violence. HEUNI was responsible for developing the research plan and methodology, developing the questionnaires, training key people in Viet Nam and commenting on the manuscript.

Adaptation to Russian circumstances of the International Prison Policy Development Instrument.

EU Cards: in cooperation with UNODC, HEUNI prepared a research report on seven countries in the Western Balkans, outlining their criminal justice data collection mechanisms. The report discussed crime definitions and statistical systems, including within the police, prosecution, and courts, as well as survey-data, asylum, visa and migration statistical systems. The study also presented a checklist for justice and home affairs statistics collection. UNODCOpens in new window


What: Development of training materials and training handbooks on criminal justice and crime prevention issues. Delivering of training based on HEUNI’s research findings and guidelines. Development and execution of research methodology training to researchers, to interviewers or to other staff involved in projects.

Why: Training is an effective method to disseminate new information, to increase awareness and to change behaviour. Many international instruments in the field of crime prevention and control emphasize the need to train criminal justice practitioners. By training researchers in using innovative and tested research methodologies, the quality of research and analyses of information can be greatly improved.

Methodology: Development of training manuals, training the trainers, making use of the latest training methods and tools available. HEUNI is in the process of developing e-learning modules in order to disseminate research findings to even wider audiences

HEUNI’s work has resulted in:

Lectures and presentations to criminal justice professionals and academia

Training for researchers on research methodology and research ethics. HEUNI report 82

Training for practitioners on the links between human trafficking and sham marriages is currently under development.

Training for prison staff on responding to violence against women and on the life course of female inmates.

Training for passenger ferry staff on identification of victims of human trafficking. HEUNI Report No. 83

A Guidebook on “How to Survive UN Crime Programme Meetings".

Scholarship programme

“I strongly benefitted from listening to other scholars and exchanging information in a stimulating and highly professional international context. Most importantly, the week materialized into a strong network of researchers having common interests, though different backgrounds.“

Paola Cavanna, Ph.D candidate at Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore (Italy), HEUNI scholarship recipient 2016

Since its establishment, HEUNI has granted about 200 short-time scholarships for post-graduate students and junior practitioners in the field of criminal policy.

Currently, instead of individual scholarships HEUNI yearly invites junior scholars to thematic expert meetings (2-3 days in Helsinki). The themes for 2018, and application information, will be posted at HEUNI’s webpage later on.

Contact Aili Pääkkönen (aili.paakkonen(at) for further information

Published 1.3.2017
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