Compensation for victims of crime in other EU countries
Directive 2004/80/EC — relating to compensation to crime victims
WHAT IS THE AIM OF THE DIRECTIVE?
It sets up a system of cooperation to help victims of crime get compensation in situations regardless of where in the European Union (EU) the crime was committed.
The system operates on the basis of EU countries’ national compensation schemes for victims of violent intentional crime committed on their own territories.
The directive has two main elements.
It requires all EU countries to have a compensation scheme for victims of violent intentional crime committed on their territories. The organisation and operation of such schemes is left to the discretion of each EU country.
It sets up an EU-wide cooperation system based on those national schemes.
Guaranteeing adequate compensation
Ensuring adequate compensation for victims can be difficult either because:
the offender does not have the necessary financial resources; or
it has not been possible to identify or prosecute the offender (the possibility of obtaining compensation from the offender is dealt with in Directive 2012/29/EU establishing minimum standards on the rights, support and protection of victims of crime).
The directive requires that victims:
be compensated irrespective of their country of residence or the EU country in which the crime was committed;
receive fair and appropriate compensation — the exact amount is left to the discretion of the EU country in which the crime was committed.
All EU countries were required to set up national schemes offering fair and appropriate compensation by 1 July 2005. The directive sets up a system of cooperation between national authorities to facilitate access to compensation for victims throughout the EU:
Victims of crimes committed in an EU country other than the one in which they usually live may ask an authority in the country in which they live (assisting authority) for information on how to apply for compensation.
That national authority then transmits the application directly to the national authority of the EU country in which the crime was committed (deciding authority), which is responsible for assessing the application and paying out the compensation.
All communication must be carried out in the language of the deciding country. The European Commission has drawn up standard forms for the transmission of applications and decisions relating to compensation to victims.
The directive creates a system of central contact points in each EU country to facilitate cooperation in cross-border situations which meet regularly. Additional information is available on the website of the European e-Justice Portal.
FROM WHEN DOES THE DIRECTIVE APPLY?
It entered into force on 26 August 2004. EU countries had to incorporate it in national law by 1 January 2006.
For more information, see:
Council Directive 2004/80/EC of 29 April 2004 relating to compensation to crime victims (OJ L 261, 6.8.2004, pp. 15-18)
Commission Decision 2006/337/EC of 19 April 2006 establishing standard forms for the transmission of applications and decisions pursuant to Council Directive 2004/80/EC relating to compensation to crime victims (OJ L 125, 12.5.2006, pp. 25-30)
Directive 2012/29/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 October 2012 establishing minimum standards on the rights, support and protection of victims of crime, and replacing Council Framework Decision 20 01/220/JHA (OJ L 315, 14.11.2012, pp. 57-73)
last update 08.12.2015