Assistance to victims of criminal offences
Only victims who have suffered direct harm to their physical, psychological or sexual integrity as the result of a criminal act can benefit under the Victim Support Act. It is not necessary that the perpetrator is identified or convicted. Close relatives of victims, such as spouses, partners, parents, children, brothers and sisters, can also benefit from the assistance.
Under the Victim Support Act, victims are entitled to assistance from counselling services all over the country on medical, psychological, social, financial or legal matters. Immediate help is free. Assistance over a longer period of time may also be free depending on the victim's financial circumstances. The victim can go to the counselling service of his or her choice.
Victims are entitled to compensation from the state for the financial losses and for the pain and suffering they have incurred, assuming that they cannot obtain such compensation from the perpetrator (for example because the perpetrator is unknown or without financial means). Recognised victim counselling services can provide information on the exact requirements and can help with completing an application.
Victims' rights in criminal proceedings are regulated in the Criminal Procedure Code. You can also consult a recognised victim counselling service about this. For more information, see the pages in German, French or Italian.