France has a crime victim compensation program to provide financial compensation for victims of violent or personal crime as well as a program for victims of terrorist acts.
Report to police. Yes, the victim must file a formal complaint in person with the police. The complaint must be filed within 3 years for misdemeanors and within 10 years for other crimes. If the victim is a minor, the 10 years begin accruing when he or she reaches 18 years of age.
Filing period. Within 3 years after the crime, 1 year after the last court decision, or 10 years after a terrorist act. Late filing is possible, but it must be approved by a panel of judges. One must file a claim for compensation within 3 years from the date of the crime; this date can be extended for another year after the last court decision.
Foreign citizen eligibility. Citizens of foreign countries who were legally admitted into France are eligible to apply for compensation. (This includes U.S. citizens without visas who have entered France as tourists for less than 3 months.)
Victims of terrorist acts. Full compensation is payable for personal injury or death caused by an act of terrorism that occurs either on French soil or, solely in the case of French nationals, outside of France.
A state fund, the Fonds de Garantie, was established for victims to ensure remuneration for victims of serious crimes, especially in cases involving homicide, serious injuries, and sexual violence. A victim may claim financial damages through the Crime Victim Compensation Commission, Commission d'Indemnisation des Victimes d'Infractions (CIVI). Application forms are available online at www.fgti.fr. A CIVI office is available at each court (Tribunal de Grande Instance). Appointed Commissions d'Indemnisation des Victimes d'Infractions determine the damages and the amount of compensation. Nongovernmental organizations, S.O.S. Attentats, and L'Institut National d'Aide aux Victimes et de Médiation (INAVEM) can help claimants complete application forms. Victims of personal crimes may also file a claim for civil damages by attaching a civil complaint (partie civile) to the criminal prosecution. This can be at any time throughout the trial.
Benefits and Award Limits
There are no limits on compensation for personal injury, serious crimes, or minor offenses, but compensation is limited to injuries resulting from the crime. The maximum amount for destruction of goods is EUR3,811. The maximum amount for property offenses is EUR3,656.
Emergency awards. The victim is eligible to receive an advance award in a minimum of 2 days to 1 month.
Funding sources. The program is funded by tax revenue.
Fonds de Garantie, Commissions d'Indemnisation des Victimes (CIVI). There are many CIVI offices throughout France. Contact information is available on the Web site of the office nearest to where the crime occurred.
Internet: http://www.fondsdegarantie.fr/ (in French)
Another organization that may be helpful with compensation in cases of terrorism is
S.O.S. Attentats, Hotel des Invalides, 6 Boulevard des Invalides, 75007, Paris, France
The following nongovernment organization may provide assistance with compensation in violent crime cases:
Institut National d'Aide aux Victimes Et de Mediation (INAVEM) (National Organization for Victim Assistance and Victim/Offender Mediation), 4-14, Rue Ferrus, Paris, France 75014