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Last update: 16-06-2009
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Compensation to crime victims - Finland

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TABLE OF CONTENTS

1. Obtaining compensation in the form of damages from the offender 1.
1.1. Under which conditions can I make a claim for damages in the trial against the offender (the criminal proceedings)? 1.1.
1.2. At which moment of the procedure should I put forward the claim? 1.2.
1.3. How should I put forward the claim, and to whom? 1.3.
1.4. How should I present my claim (indicate a total amount and/or specify the individual losses)? 1.4.
1.5. Can I get legal assistance before and /or during the proceedings? 1.5.
1.6. What evidence will I be required to present in support of my claim? 1.6.
1.7. If I am awarded damages by the court, is there any special assistance available to me as a crime victim for the enforcement of the judgment against the offender? 1.7.
2. Obtaining compensation from the state or by a public body 2.
2.1. Is it possible to obtain compensation from the state or by a public body? 2.1.
2.2. Is the possibility limited to victims that have suffered certain types of crime? 2.2.
2.3. Is the possibility limited to victims that have sustained certain types of injury? 2.3.
2.4. Can relatives or dependants of victims that have died as a result of the crime obtain compensation? 2.4.
2.5. Is the possibility of obtaining compensation limited to persons of a certain nationality or persons residing in a certain country? 2.5.
2.6. Can I apply for compensation from Finland if the crime was committed in another country? If yes, under what conditions? 2.6.
2.7. Is it necessary to have reported the crime to the police? 2.7.
2.8. Is it necessary to await the outcome of any police investigations or criminal proceedings before I can apply? 2.8.
2.9. If the offender has been identified, is it necessary to first try to get compensation from the offender? 2.9.
2.10. If the offender has not been identified or convicted, is it still possible to qualify for compensation? If so, what evidence do I need to supply in support of my application? 2.10.
2.11. Is there a time limit for making the application for compensation? 2.11.
2.12. For which losses can I be compensated? 2.12.
2.13. How will the compensation be calculated? 2.13.
2.14. Is there a minimum and/or maximum amount that can be awarded? 2.14.
2.15. Will compensation that I have received, or can receive, for the same losses but from other sources (such as insurance) be deducted from the compensation from the state? 2.15.
2.16. Are there any other criteria that can influence my chance of receiving compensation, or how the amount of compensation is calculated, such as my own behaviour in relation to the event that caused the injury? 2.16.
2.17. Can I get an advance on the compensation? If yes, under what conditions? 2.17.
2.18. Where can I get the necessary forms and further information on how to apply?

Is there a special help line or website that I can use? 2.18.

2.19. Can I get legal assistance for making the application? 2.19.
2.20. Where do I send the application? 2.20.
2.21. Are there any victim support organisations that can give further assistance? 2.21.

 

1. Obtaining compensation in the form of damages from the offender

1.1. Under which conditions can I make a claim for damages in the trial against the offender (the criminal proceedings)?

A claim for damages can be made when a charge is being processed. The claim for damages is usually processed together with the charge, but it can also be handled in separate judicial proceedings.

1.2. At which moment of the procedure should I put forward the claim?

Where possible, the claim should be put forward during the pre-trial investigation. The police are obliged to inquire at that point whether the injured party has any claims. The prosecutor is usually obliged, at the request of the injured party, to put forward the claim for damages at the same time as he or she presses the charge. This obligation does not, however, exist in cases where the claim is unclear, etc.

1.3. How should I put forward the claim, and to whom?

The claim should be put forward in writing to the prosecutor or, if the case is already being heard in a court of law, to the court.

1.4. How should I present my claim (indicate a total amount and/or specify the individual losses)?

The claim for damages should be as specific as possible. The claim must specify the injury or damage incurred according to its type (e.g., property damage, personal injury, medical costs, etc.) as well as the amount of the damage.

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1.5. Can I get legal assistance before and /or during the proceedings?

Yes, if the conditions for receiving public legal aid are met. When these conditions are met, legal aid can be granted both for the pre-trial investigation and the judicial proceedings. In addition, crime victims can always be appointed an attorney who is paid from public funds when they are the injured parties in sex offences (Chapter 20 of the Penal Code) or when the offender is close to the victim and the case involves homicide or bodily injury as set out in Chapter 21, sections 1–6 of the Penal Code (e.g., attempted manslaughter or aggravated assault).

1.6. What evidence will I be required to present in support of my claim?

Any written evidence about the damage incurred or its amount should be attached to the claim. It is important, however, that you attach any medical certificates, expense receipts, etc. to the claim. The court will assess the adequacy of the evidence on a case-by-case basis. If there is insufficient evidence of the amount of damage incurred, the court will estimate its magnitude.

1.7. If I am awarded damages by the court, is there any special assistance available to me as a crime victim for the enforcement of the judgment against the offender?

Application for enforcement of the judgment is made at an enforcement office, which will assist you in filling out the application. The application can also be sent by e-mail. The application form is available (in Finnish) at http://www.oikeus.fi/6558.htm suomi (choose 'Ulosottoasiat', 'Ulosottohakemus - Tuomiota tai päätöstä edellyttävät asiat'). In addition to the application itself, the court judgment or an officially certified copy of it must be sent to the enforcement office. The application can be made as soon as the court has issued its judgment; there is therefore no need to wait until the decision is final.

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2. Obtaining compensation from the state or by a public body

2.1. Is it possible to obtain compensation from the state or by a public body?

Yes, applications are addressed to the State Treasury.

2.2. Is the possibility limited to victims that have suffered certain types of crime?

As a general rule, the only requirement is that the injury or damage was caused by a criminal offence. However, compensation for mental anguish, for example, is paid only when the cause is an aggravated violent offence, an offence against personal liberty or a sexual offence.

2.3. Is the possibility limited to victims that have sustained certain types of injury?

Not generally. Section 2.12 lists the types of injury or damage for which compensation is available in Finland.

2.4. Can relatives or dependants of victims that have died as a result of the crime obtain compensation?

The persons especially close to a person that has died are entitled to compensation for their own medical expenses and other necessary expenses as well as for loss of income. As a general rule, relationships between spouses and between a minor and a parent, for example, are regarded as especially close.

If a person liable for maintenance has died, the person entitled to maintenance or child support will receive compensation. The compensation then corresponds to the amount that this person would probably have received from the person that has died. Pensions under the various pension acts will be deducted from the compensation to be paid to the person entitled to maintenance.

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In addition, a reasonable amount of compensation may be paid for funeral costs.

2.5. Is the possibility of obtaining compensation limited to persons of a certain nationality or persons residing in a certain country?

As a general rule, compensation is paid for an offence committed in Finland, so the nationality of the person entitled to the compensation has no relevance as such. The Finnish State does not, however, pay compensation, without special reason, to persons other than those permanently living in another EU Member State, if both the offender and the victim were staying in Finland temporarily and briefly at the time of the offence.

2.6. Can I apply for compensation from Finland if the crime was committed in another country? If yes, under what conditions?

If the offence was committed outside Finland, compensation can be claimed from the Finnish State for personal injury and anguish only and subject to certain conditions.

One prerequisite is that the crime victim was a permanent resident of Finland at the time of the offence. If he/she was abroad, his/her stay abroad must have been because of work, study or a comparable reason to entitle him/her to compensation. Discretionary compensation may be paid in other cases, too, if it is deemed justified.

2.7. Is it necessary to have reported the crime to the police?

As a general rule, yes. If the offence has not been reported to the police and the police have not become aware of it in any other way, compensation will be paid only if there is a special reason for doing so.

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2.8. Is it necessary to await the outcome of any police investigations or criminal proceedings before I can apply?

The application can be submitted earlier. However, the State Treasury usually waits until the right of the applicant to receive damages from the person responsible for the injury or damage has been decided in the first instance or the decision not to prosecute the offender has been made. If the offender has not been charged within six months of the police becoming aware of the offence, the State Treasury may decide on the matter.

2.9. If the offender has been identified, is it necessary to first try to get compensation from the offender?

No.

2.10. If the offender has not been identified or convicted, is it still possible to qualify for compensation? If so, what evidence do I need to supply in support of my application?

You can still apply for compensation (see sections 2.7 and 2.8). The accounts must show that the injury or damage was caused by a criminal act. Records of the pre-trial investigation by the police or the judgment are usually supplied as evidence. In their absence, other reliable accounts must be given. What is relevant is the assessment as to whether or not the facts concerning the commission of the offence can be regarded as reliable.

2.11. Is there a time limit for making the application for compensation?

Compensation must be applied for in writing within three years of a final judgment in the compensation case. If the case has not been considered in a court of law, the application period is ten years from the commission of the offence. For a special reason, the State Treasury may admit also later applications into consideration.

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2.12. For which losses can I be compensated?

  1. personal injury
    • medical costs and other costs arising from the injury
    • physical pain and suffering and other temporary handicap
    • also temporary mental anguish, provided that it is a psychic dysfunction that can be medically ascertained
    • permanent handicap as well as permanent cosmetic handicap - loss of income
    • clothes and other everyday items, eyeglasses and dental prostheses that have been damaged
    • mental anguish (see section 2.2 for limitations)
  2. under certain circumstances, necessary expenses and loss of income caused a person close to the person that has suffered the personal injury
  3. property damage
    • can be compensated for but the damage must have been caused by a person who has been institutionalised or otherwise deprived of liberty. Property damage can also be compensated for on a discretionary basis in some other situations.
  4. legal costs if the matter has been considered in a court of law and the applicant is also paid other compensation from public funds
  5. reasonable funeral expenses.

2.13. How will the compensation be calculated?

There are no legal provisions on how to calculate the amount of compensation. Therefore, the State Treasury estimates compensation using uniform criteria, taking into account the particularities of each individual case. The State Treasury has indicative tables only for compensation related to pain and suffering as well as to permanent invalidity and handicap and cosmetic handicap. In these tables, the compensation levels are determined by reference to the degree of injury, such as the period of disability, the period of hospitalisation, the extent of treatment, etc. When estimating the amount of compensation, the State Treasury is not bound by the decision of the court on compensation.

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2.14. Is there a minimum and/or maximum amount that can be awarded?

The maximum amounts established in current Finnish law (for crimes committed after 1 January 2009) are the following:

  • for pain and suffering and other temporary handicap, EUR 11,000
  • for anguish caused by a sexual offence, EUR 8,000 and for anguish caused by another offence, EUR 3,300
  • for loss of income and maintenance, EUR 140/day
  • for loss of maintenance, the amount determined by an agreement or by a court judgment
  • for compensation paid to a person especially close to a person who has died, EUR 5,500
  • for personal injury, the total compensation for one event shall not exceed EUR 56,000
  • for property damage, EUR 28,000
  • a basic deduction of EUR 160.will be made from the total amount of the compensation.

2.15. Will compensation that I have received, or can receive, for the same losses but from other sources (such as insurance) be deducted from the compensation from the state?

Yes. Sums due to the person sustaining the injury or damage in accordance with other legislation are deducted from the compensation paid by the State. In addition, compensation received on the basis of an insurance policy is deducted. Damages payable by the offender are deducted only to the amount that has actually been paid.

2.16. Are there any other criteria that can influence my chance of receiving compensation, or how the amount of compensation is calculated, such as my own behaviour in relation to the event that caused the injury?

Compensation paid from public funds can be adjusted if the person sustaining the injury or damage has in some way contributed to it. This is also the case if another circumstance external to the act giving rise to the injury or damage has contributed to the injury or damage.

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2.17. Can I get an advance on the compensation? If yes, under what conditions?

An advance can be paid if the decision on a matter of compensation is delayed and the applicant is evidently entitled to a substantial compensation.

2.18. Where can I get the necessary forms and further information on how to apply?

Is there a special help line or website that I can use?

The State Treasury can provide you with further information (see section 2.20).

2.19. Can I get legal assistance for making the application?

You can make the application yourself; if you need assistance, the State Treasury can help you. Reasonable compensation for the costs of a legal counsel will be paid from public funds if the applicant has been granted a trial free of charge in a court of law. Compensation for reasonable application costs can also be paid if the matter has not been considered in a court of law, but the applicant meets the criteria for a trial free of charge.

2.20. Where do I send the application?

State Treasury

Sörnäisten Rantatie 13

P.O. BOX 68

FIN-00531 Helsinki, FINLAND

tel. +358 9 77 251

fax +358 9 772 58556

www.valtiokonttori.fi English - suomi - svenska

www.statetreasury.fi English - suomi - svenska

2.21. Are there any victim support organisations that can give further assistance?

« Compensation to crime victims - General information | Finland - General information »

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Last update: 16-06-2009

 
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