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Last update: 23-05-2006
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Compensation to crime victims - Spain

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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 Spain if the crime was committed in another country? If so, 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 so, 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

In Spanish law, the normal procedure for claiming compensation for damage suffered is in criminal proceedings, during which civil as well as criminal liability is analysed. This is why the examining magistrate offers the victim the possibility of civil action so that he can choose whether or not to make a claim in the criminal proceedings or to reserve the right to claim for damages via civil proceedings. If he decides to go ahead with the claim in the criminal proceedings, he may ask the public prosecution service to proceed with civil action on his behalf (which is what usually happens if he does not express a choice) or opt to be represented (by a lawyer and solicitor) for the same purpose.

If he decides to claim damages outside the criminal proceedings, he must therefore initiate a civil action (ordinary or oral proceedings depending on whether the amount of the damages exceeds €3 000) , complying with the rules governing these proceedings.

In cross-border situations, for instance when the offence was committed in a Member State other than the one in which the victim resides, the latter may claim damages under national law from the offender before the criminal court hearing the case.

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

Victims of any type of crime or offence can claim damages (Article 109 of the Criminal Code) as mentioned above.

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

At any time in the procedure, but in any case before the start of the oral proceedings, giving the examining magistrate an opportunity to make the claim during the investigation phase, once he has received notification of the existence of the victim.

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

You may put forward the claim to the judge either personally in the statement you are asked to make when being offered to choose the type of procedure, or in a written document which must be endorsed or drawn up by a lawyer or solicitor. This written document is not essential since if it is not drawn up, the public prosecution service will proceed with the civil action together with the criminal proceedings.

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

The petition should specify the damage caused – the amount – and should comprise the corresponding invoices or estimates substantiating the claim, which will be subsequently examined by a court expert.

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

Yes, free legal aid can be obtained at any time once the criminal proceedings have started and provided that you wish to be represented because you consider that it is not enough to leave the civil action in the hands of the public prosecution service.

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

Please refer to the reply given under 1.4 for the evidence needed in support of a claim. Moreover, if you are applying for free legal aid, you must submit the necessary evidence relating to income and assets.

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?

No, the procedure for the enforcement of the judgment is the general one (which in the case of civil liability arising from a crime is conducted in the same way as for the enforcement of civil judgments even though the judgment was handed down by a criminal judge and is enforced by a criminal court).

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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, this is specifically regulated in Law 35/95 of 11 December 1995 on aid and assistance for victims of violent crime and sexual offences.

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

Yes, victims of intentional violent crimes committed in Spain and sexual offences.

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

Yes, it is stipulated that the above crimes must result in death, serious bodily injury or serious damage to physical or mental health.

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

Yes, the spouse or person cohabiting with the victims, children who are financially dependent on the victim, and, in the absence of the above, parents who are financially dependent on the victim (Article 2.3 of Law 35/95 of 11 December 1995).

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

It is limited to Spanish citizens, nationals of Member States of the European Union, persons habitually residing in Spain and nationals of foreign countries that have reciprocal agreements with Spain in this respect (Article 2.1 of Law 35/95 of 11 December 1995).

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

If the crime was committed in a country other than Spain, compensation must be claimed in the country in which the corresponding criminal proceedings are being conducted, which is usually the one in which the crime was committed.

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

Yes, since the complaint forms part of the documentation which must be produced in support of the petition (Article 10.2 of Law 35/95 of 11 December 1995).

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

Yes, there must be a final court decision terminating the criminal proceedings, either a conviction, a default judgment, a stay of proceedings because of the death of the offender, or a dismissal of the proceedings on the grounds envisaged in Articles 641.2 or 637.3 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (Article 9 of Law 3/95 of 11 December 1995).

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

The law does not require this.

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?

Yes, by producing the same type of evidence required in the event that the offender has been identified (Article 9 of Law 35/95 of 11 December 1995).

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

Yes, one year from the date on which the crime occurred (Article 7 of Law 35/95 of 11 December 1995).

2.12. For which losses can I be compensated?

Death, serious bodily injuries and serious damage to physical or mental health (Article 4 of Law 35/19 of 11 December 1995).

2.13. How will the compensation be calculated?

The amount of the compensation may not exceed that established in the judgment. This amount will be determined by taking the minimum intersectoral wage and applying certain parameters and percentages as laid down in Article 6 of Law 35/95 of 11 December 1995).

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

Yes, this will be calculated taking into account what is stated in the previous point.

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?

The compensation covered by the said Law is incompatible with any financial compensation which the beneficiary is entitled to under an insurance policy, except where the amount of the compensation under the private insurance policy is lower than that set down in the judgment (Article 5 of Law 35/95 of 11 December 1995).

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?

No.

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

Yes, in cases in which evidence can be provided of the financial difficulties experienced by the victim or, if the latter has died, by the beneficiaries (Article 10 of Law 35/95 of 11 December 1995).

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?

When the police or the court receives a statement or complaint from you, they are obliged to inform you of the content of the said Law and the compensation it offers.

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

Legal assistance is not necessary since a lawyer or solicitor is not required. The claim may be submitted by the victim himself or by a representative.

2.20. Where do I send the application?

To the Ministry of Economy and Finance.

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

There are crime victim support bureaux located at the seats of courts (Article 16 of Law 35/95 of 11 December 1995).

Further information

Are there any other options for getting compensation from the offender (compensation orders) ?

Yes, there is the possibility of making a complaint before civil courts in civil proceedings.

  • Information on services provided by crime victim support bureaux at national level and in certain Autonomous Communities is available at:

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

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Last update: 23-05-2006

 
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