Crime victim compensation in Switzerland is available through victim assistance programs administered in each of the cantons (states). Each canton establishes its own guidelines for the amount and kind of compensation to be awarded.
Report to police. Not required.
Filing period. Within 2 years of the date of the crime.
Foreign citizen eligibility. Foreign citizens are eligible to apply for compensation.
Application forms are available from the cantonal crime victim compensation offices (a list of addresses for these offices and the application forms are available online at www.ofj.admin.ch/bj/en/home.html). Claims for compensation must be filed with the appropriate authorities in the canton where the crime was committed. Lists with the addresses of cantonal compensation authorities can be obtained from the investigating police and victim assistance counseling centers or the U.S. embassy in Bern. To qualify for compensation, the victim must demonstrate that no, or only inadequate, compensation from third parties (perpetrator, insurance companies, etc.) can be obtained. Payments from the cantonal authorities supplement payments from other sources.
Benefits and Award Limits
The federal law provides for income limits (means test) unless the crime is particularly severe. If a victim's income is less than the amount for social security and disability, the victim receives full compensation. If the victim's income is more than that amount, the award is reduced. Effective January l, 2002, the minimum income for a single person in Swiss francs is Sw F69,200; for couples it is Sw F103,800; for the first and the second child it is Sw F36,240. Damages for pain and suffering can be paid to seriously affected victims and under justifiable special circumstances, regardless of the victim's income. The amount of compensation available varies from canton to canton, and income is considered in most cases. Maximum compensation is Sw F100,000. Minimum compensation is Sw F500.
Emergency awards. Local counseling centers render immediate emergency assistance and, if needed, will provide assistance for an extended period of time.
Funding sources. The funding is from cantonal resources.
Swiss Federal Bureau of Justice, Division of Legislative Projects and Methods
For compensation information and victim assistance in the cantons, contact a nongovernmental organization at
Weisser Ring-The Weisser (White) Ring, P.O. Box 1156, 8302 Kloten