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There are various possibilities of obtaining compensation from an offender:
- if the police are dealing with the criminal offence: through the police;
- if the Public Prosecutor’s Office is dealing with the criminal offence: through the Public Prosecutor;
- if the criminal courts are dealing with the criminal offence: by order of a judge while the case is dealt with;
- otherwise (even if the case is dismissed) by proceedings before a civil court judge. In fact these are ordinary civil proceedings. You can find information on this in “Referring cases to a judge - Netherlands”.
The victim’s claim must be simple. This means the judge must be able to ascertain the loss, and its extent, without much research. The loss must also derive directly from the criminal act committed against the victim. The offender must have been charged with that act by the Public Prosecutor (and the judge must have found the charge proven). It does not matter whether it was an offence or a misdemeanour.
To be eligible for an award by a criminal court judge, the claim must therefore be simple (readily provable). The victim or court may divide the claim into a simple and a complex part. The criminal court judge may deal with the simple part. The victim must plead the complex part of the claim before a judge in a civil court. Compensation is claimable both for material losses and mental distress; in principle the amount is unlimited. The loss suffered must be backed by written evidence. The Victim Support Bureau (see 2. 21) may assist in the submission of such a claim.
The application must be sent to the Public Prosecutor’s Office before commencement of the hearing at the court of first instance (in any case before the Public Prosecutor’s formal indictment). Victims who have told the police they want compensation will immediately be sent a claim form from the Public Prosecutor’s Office, which they must return to the Public Prosecutor’s Office.
By completing a claim form - see answer 1. 2. The injured party is not bound to appear at the hearing.
The judge must be able to see, from the claimant’s written document, that the claim is justified and what amount the claimant is claiming. The judge must also be able to assess whether the amount is reasonable
The injured party has the option of being represented by a lawyer. “Legal assistance – Netherlands” gives further information.
The following documentary evidence comes to mind: invoices/purchase vouchers, employers’ declarations, medical certificates etc. When the size of the amount to be claimed cannot be substantiated by documentary evidence, the judge must estimate it according to the law.
When a judge has recognised a claim, the plaintiff receives the judgment. Such a judgment may be enforced with the help of a bailiff. For further information, please see the factsheet on enforcement of court orders.
Other possibilities are as follows.
- Section 36f of the Criminal Code allows the judge to require a suspect convicted of a criminal offence to pay the state a sum of money. Under this section of the Code, the victim is entitled to this money. The Public Prosecutor’s Office is required to enforce this measure. The Central Judicial Collections Bureau (CJIB) in Leeuwarden collects the money from the offender on behalf of the Public Prosecutor’s Office.
- The victim is paid compensation in the form of a special condition imposed upon the offender by the judge.
This is only possible in cases of deliberately committed, violent crimes resulting in serious injury or death. Victims (or their next-of-kin) may apply for a payment to the Fund for Compensation of Violent Offences.
The Fund for Compensation of Violent Offences can only make a payment in a case of a deliberately committed violent offence, as a result of which a victim suffered death or serious physical injury and/or mental distress. An application for a payment can be submitted by the victim or, in case of death, the victim’s next-of-kin. A holder of a power of attorney, or legal representative (parent or guardian) can submit an application on the victim’s behalf. The Victim Aid Bureau may obtain further information and offer support in submitting such an application.
Yes, it is. The injury inflicted by the offence must be of a serious nature, with serious consequences. That applies both to physical injury and mental distress. The following are considered serious injuries: injuries lasting more than six weeks, which result in incapacity for work or incapacity to perform daily tasks; injuries with long-term or permanent visible or functional consequences (e.g. mental trauma, fear of going out, or severely disfiguring scars) ; injuries which were objectively life-threatening.
Yes, they can. However, compensation of material losses of next-of-kin is limited to the loss resulting from the death. This means that only losses incurred in the form of funeral expenses and loss of subsistence can be compensated. On certain conditions, surviving relatives who witnessed the offence may be eligible for compensation for trauma.
The victim’s nationality makes no difference. However, the law states that an application is only admissible if the offence took place in the Netherlands.
Not unless you are the victim of a deliberately committed, violent offence aboard a Dutch vessel or aircraft outside the Netherlands. In that case, your place of residence must be in the territory of one of the Member States of the European Communities. Therefore the Compensation Fund does not deal with losses deriving from offences which a Dutch citizen committed outside the Netherlands.
It is not necessary to await the conclusions of the police investigation or criminal proceedings. This is because there is a risk of exceeding the deadline for submitting an application to the Fund for Compensation of Violent Offences.
In principle, the victim should seek recompense for the loss incurred against the offender. However, it would be impractical and unfair if the Fund for Compensation of Violent Offences could only make a payment if the outcome of such recourse were known. When it has been shown that the victim has little chance of compensation, it will proceed to make payment.
The victim has to show that an injury exists and that injury occurred by a deliberately committed violent offence. On applying, victims are sent an information form on which they can state what happened to them and what injuries they suffered. This narrative should be backed as far as possible with documents, (witness) statements etc.
A payment application must be submitted within three years of the date of the violent offence. If the injured party cannot reasonably be expected to have applied within that time, the application will still be processed.
However, if an injured party has consulted a lawyer or other expert provider of legal assistance before a deadline elapses, then a missed deadline will not readily be excused.
Not every loss arising from the offence is eligible for a payment: only loss resulting from injury or death. Moreover, the Fund for Compensation of Violent Offences does not compensate the whole loss, but only makes a payment on the principles of reasonableness and fairness. It can only make a payment if the loss, its extent and its link with the injury have been shown. There are two types of loss: material losses and distress. A material loss causes financial detriment, i.e. the costs incurred or to be incurred, and income lost or to be lost. Examples are: doctors’ fees, spoiled clothing, hospital bills, loss of capacity for work, etc. Distress means loss or temporary impairment of enjoyment of life.
From 1 January 2003, the rules are as follows. The maximum payments are €22,700 for material loss and €9100 for distress. The minimum payment for distress is €454. The maximum is seldom paid. The average payment is €2723 (rounded to €908 for material loss and €1815 for distress).
The Fund for Compensation of Violent Offences is a supplementary provision. Payments under social security legislation are deducted from the loss. Even if a particular insurance scheme pays benefit, this amount is (generally) deducted from any amount paid by the Fund for Compensation of Violent Offences.
Payment may be refused on grounds of co-responsibility of the victim. The amount of compensation for both material losses and distress may also be reduced. The question is whether victims unnecessarily exposed themselves to situations in which they could and had to expect that the offender would act violently against them (contributory blame).
An advance (provisional payment) may be allowed. An advance is only allowed when the injured party has applied for it and shown urgent need.
An application form/report form (and further information) are obtainable from the Fund for Compensation of Violent Offences (telephone: +31 70 4142000). Information is also available at the website: www.schadefonds.nl which can be used to submit a payment application. Forms can also be requested by e-mail from: firstname.lastname@example.org. Officers of the Victim Aid Bureau (see 2. 21) can also help complete and submit an application form/report form.
In principle the injured party is sent a report form on request. If the injured party has an attorney (e.g. a lawyer) , all contacts pass via the attorney.
Fund for Compensation of Violent Offences, P.O. Box 1947, 2280 DX Rijswijk, the Netherlands.
Victims of offences and traffic accidents can obtain information and support from the Dutch Foundation for Victim Support, which has about 75 local offices spread across 13 regions. Victim support is victims’ first port of call. The help offered consists of practical, legal and emotional support. If matters are legally complex, or extra psycho-social care is needed, Victim Support will refer a case to other bodies (legal aid bureaux, social work, mental health care etc). The Victim Support service is free of charge.
You can find more information (including addresses) at the “Victim Support Netherlands” website.
For information on a criminal case, victims can refer to the Victim Information Point. Each district has such an information point (sometimes under another name) , where information is obtainable from both the Police and the Public Prosecutor’s Office. In some districts, contact can also be made via a Victim Information Point with Victim Support and the Legal Aid Bureau. Further information is available at the “Public Prosecutor’s Office” website.
Ÿ If the compensation case is covered by insurance, compensation can be claimed from the relevant insurance company.
For residents in the Netherlands, social security institutions may offer a further possibility of compensation of part of the loss.
Ÿ Relevant websites:
Last update: 10-05-2005