This page is now obsolete. The update is currently being prepared and will be available in the European e-Justice Portal.
The responsibility of the offender to pay damages to the victim is different from his or her criminal liability against the state. Damages concern the relationship between the offender and the victim, and, in principle, it is the victim who has to demand such damages in civil court proceedings. The criminal liability concerns the relationship between the offender and the state. It is for the competent authorities (police, prosecutor, investigating judge) to seek evidence against the perpetrator as to his or her guilt, and the decision will be taken in criminal court proceedings.
The basic route for the victim to get damages is therefore to sue the offender. More information on how to do that can be found under the theme “Bringing a case to court” . However, recognising the difficult situation the victim is in following the crime, all Member States try to help a victim to seek damages from the offender in various ways. For example, it may be possible for the victim to seek damages in the criminal court proceedings provided that certain conditions are fulfilled. Some Member States also help the victim to enforce a judgment on damages against the offender. Further information can be found by clicking on the Member States flags.
For that reason some Member States have introduced a possibility for the victim to get compensation from the state instead. In most Member States it is necessary for the victim to first try to get damages from the offender. If this fails, the victim can apply to the state for compensation. In some Member States the possibility to get compensation from the state is restricted by further criteria, in terms of the types of crime that are covered or the types and amount of losses that can be compensated. Some Member States have more generous conditions for compensation to victims of terrorist attacks. More information on these conditions and how to apply for compensation from the state can be found by clicking on the Member States flags.
More information on the
directive can be found by clicking on the “Community law” icon.
Last update: 17-08-2004