In accordance with the Victim Compensation Act (Opferentschädigungsgesetz – OEG), compensation is paid to victims of intentional unlawful attacks and their surviving relatives.
In accordance with the OEG, the amount of compensation granted depends on the extent of the damage caused to health and the economic and health-related consequences thereof. However, the damage to health must be long-term in nature (i.e. must last for longer than six months). Compensation is generally paid on a monthly basis as long as all conditions are met.
Compensation is also paid to the surviving relatives of a victim. Surviving relatives are the victim’s spouse and children and, in exceptional cases, his/her parents.
The relatives of a victim who has survived may, under certain circumstances, obtain medical treatment and maintenance payments.
Under the OEG, the amount of compensation that foreign citizens may receive depends on their residency status. Citizens of EU Member States and foreign citizens who have been legally resident in Germany for at least three years will receive the same benefits as German citizens. The amount of compensation available to other foreign citizens is lower.
According to Section 3a of the OEG, victims of a violent crime committed abroad may also be granted compensation. However, this is in the form of a one-off payment, and not a regular benefit. Furthermore, this payment is subsidiary to payments from other bodies.
According to the OEG, applicants have a duty to cooperate, as do applicants for social benefits. First and foremost, this means providing an account of all the circumstances which could help clarify the facts of the case. This generally means that the offender must be reported to the police.
No, the competent authorities generally decide independently on claims made under the OEG. However, in some cases it may be necessary to await the outcome of police investigations or criminal proceedings.
No, compensation is paid under the OEG regardless of whether the offender has been identified.
Yes, compensation is available regardless of whether the offender has been identified or convicted. To support your claim, you should present all documents that could help clarify the facts of the case and determine the extent of damage caused.
No, the is no time limit according to the OEG. However, compensation payments can only be made retroactively for a period of one year prior to the claim being made.
The compensation covers, for example:
- material (non-psychological) damage:
- psychological (moral) damage:
- material (non-psychological) damage:
- psychological damage:
Victim compensation includes monthly pensions to compensate for the economic and health-related consequences of the damage to the victim’s health, medical treatment and care benefits. Compensation for pain and suffering (Schmerzensgeld) is not paid.
Compensation for survivors includes monthly pensions for widows/widowers, orphans and, where applicable, parents, medical treatment and care benefits.
Pension payments to victims and surviving relatives to compensate for the economic and health-related consequences of damage to health are paid on a monthly basis as long as all the requisite conditions are met. Other benefits are paid if and when there is a need for them.
If the injured party caused the injury himself/herself or if it would be unfair to pay compensation for other reasons, particularly because of the victim’s own behaviour, then compensation will be denied. However, the mere existence of a criminal record is not enough to warrant such a decision. Claimants have an obligation to help as much as possible to clarify the facts of the case. If they do not fulfil this obligation, compensation may be denied, either in full or partially.
According to the OEG, compensation is paid regardless of the injured party’s income or wealth. The financial situation of the injured party may only have an impact on the amount of compensation granted in order to compensate for economic damage, or in the case of care benefits.
No, under the OEG, only the outlined criteria can affect the likelihood of receiving compensation and/or the amount.
Pension payments to compensate for the consequences of health-related damage are calculated according to the extent of these consequences. Pension payments to compensate for the consequences of economic damage are based on the economic disadvantages incurred.
No (see response to previous question).
Pension payments to compensate for the consequences of health-related damage are made regardless of whether you receive payments from other private or public bodies. However, these payments may be taken into account when calculating payments to compensate for the consequences of economic damage.
Advance payments are not possible under the OEG. Payments to cover medical treatment may, however, be made before a decision has been taken on the compensation claim.
In the case of worsening health, an ‘aggravation claim’ (Verschlimmerungsantrag) can always be made in order to request the recalculation of the compensation amount. Changes in income can always be taken into account in the calculation of compensation for the consequences of economic damage.
The authorities that are competent according to the law of each Land.
The claim can be sent to all social security offices. It will then be forwarded to the competent authority.
There is no definitive answer to this question. The duration of the procedure depends, in particular, on how easy or difficult it is to clarify the facts of the case and whether it is necessary to obtain medical reports.
An appeal may be lodged against the decision. If the competent authority does not come to another decision as a result of the appeal procedure, a complaint may be filed with the Social Court (Sozialgericht).
This information can be found in various places, as both the Federal Government and the Länder provide it in the relevant places. See, for example, the website of the Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs: http://www.bmas.de/DE/Themen/Soziale-Sicherung/Soziale-Entschaedigung/Opferentschaedigungsrecht/oeg.html or the online database for victims of crime: https://www.odabs.org/
There are a number of Federal Government and Länder websites where information on victim compensation can be found, e.g. on the website of the Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs: http://www.bmas.de/DE/Themen/Soziale-Sicherung/Soziale-Entschaedigung/Opferentschaedigungsrecht/oeg.html or https://www.odabs.org/ .
Legal expenses are not regarded as compensation and therefore cannot be refunded under the OEG.
Yes, there are a number of regional and national victim support organisations. The biggest nationwide organisation is ‘der Weisse Ring’.
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