Germany has a crime victim compensation program to provide financial compensation for victims of violent or personal crime.
Report to police. Yes. There is no time limit to report the crime to the police, but a police report is needed for the compensation application.
Filing period. Although there is no time limit for filing a claim, the standard filing period is usually within 1 year. Compensation, if approved, will be made only from the date of filing and not from the date the crime occurred, if the claim is not filed within 1 year.
Foreign citizen eligibility. European Union (EU) citizens from reciprocal states are eligible. Citizens from foreign countries (or states) that have a reciprocal agreement covering German citizens are eligible. Foreigners who have been officially living in the Federal Republic of Germany for a continuous period of 3 years are eligible. Foreigners who have not yet resided in the Federal Republic of Germany for a continuous period of 3 years may be eligible under certain circumstances.
The victim must report the crime to the police and provide the date, location, and injuries and losses resulting from the crime. A claimant can obtain an application for compensation from the Versorgungsamt (war pension office) in almost every large town. A nonprofit organization, the Weisser Ring, provides a wide array of support services to victims of crime. The Weisser Ring will help victims apply for compensation and provide other forms of financial support. Notification of an award can take approximately 6 months.
Benefits and Award Limits
There is no maximum award limit.
Emergency awards. The program does not provide emergency compensation awards.
Funding sources. Funding comes from the individual German state budget.
Contact the Versorgungsamt in the area where the crime occurred. A list of Versorgungsamt offices can be found at the following Web site:
www.global-help.de/behoerden-versorgungsaemter-20050811/1-cm.shtml (in German, English)
* German is the official language for filing. However, because English is widely spoken in Germany, some officials may also be able to correspond in English.
Assistance from the Weisser Ring (a victim support organization funded through private donations) is available at offices throughout the country. The location of offices is on the Web site (http://www.weisser-ring.de/index.php?id=61) in German, English, and French.
The main office of the Weisser Ring is
Bundesgeschaeftsstelle, Weisser Ring e.V., Weberstrasse 16, 55130 Mainz