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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 82837 Find in a Library
Title: Experiences in Caring for Crime Victims
Journal: Bewaehrungshilfe  Volume:27  Issue:4  Dated:(1980)  Pages:340-346
Author(s): C M Huntgeburth
Date Published: 1980
Page Count: 7
Format: Article
Language: German
Country: West Germany (Former)
Annotation: West German efforts at victim assistance include a 1976 compensation law (OEG) for assault victims and the 'White Ring,' a victim counseling, assistance, and public education service. A more comprehensive law, better outreach efforts, and improved public understanding of victims are needed.
Abstract: The OEG covers medical expenses and disability income for victims of criminal assault or their dependents. Foreigners are excluded, property loss is not covered, eligibility formalities are cumbersome, payments are delayed, and the law is not retroactive. The private White Ring operates to fill the gaps of this inadequate law, serving the excluded populations and providing immediate financial aid. That very few clients seek the assistance of either program indicates the gravity of the social stigma against victims. Partly to blame is the misrepresentation of victim assistance programs by the media, which report only sensational cases and portray victims as losers whose conduct has contributed to their fate. The result is a shame of their misfortune that compounds the injury with self-doubt and fear of the justice proceedings to follow. Having lost status and means, the victims feel bitter and resent the services that offenders receive. Outreach and public education efforts of the White Ring are effecting a gradual change in the situation. The initiative for reaching clients nevertheless remains with the helping agency. Victims are frequently incapacitated, unable to negotiate for assistance, and in need of therapy in addition to financial aid. To be achieved is a public understanding of victimization and equality in the laws that provide assistance to victims.
Index Term(s): Germany; Psychological victimization effects; Public Attitudes/Opinion; Victim compensation; Victim services
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