- There is large diversity in what constitutes a compensable crime, level of involvement or collaboration with the prosecution, number of applicants and compensation amounts
- There is also a difference in the apparent compensation paradigms behind the systems, ranging from the clear social security elements in Spain, to the symbolic all-in amounts in the Netherlands, and the principle of full compensation in Greece
- Three of the five countries seem to consider state compensation as a last resort, to be accessed only after offender compensation has been unsuccessfully sought. The Netherlands and Latvia, however, allow victims to access state compensation regardless of criminal proceedings.
- Four out of five countries do not have an enforcement procedure in place to ensure that the compensation that has been awarded in criminal court will be paid to the victim. Consequently, victims from insolvent offenders will not receive compensation
- One country did not have an adhesion procedure in place for compensation matters in criminal proceedings, e. a procedure through which a court can rule on compensation for the victim of a criminal offence. Instead, a victim has to claim compensation in the civil proceedings, where victim bears the burden of proof and pays court fees.
- Four out of five countries do not have a standard form to claim compensation
Good practices identification
- State compensation should be available independent from court outcome
- State compensation should be available also when the offender is unknown, not prosecuted or not sentenced.
- State compensation should be made independent on the victims’ collaboration with the prosecution.
- The timeframe to apply for state compensation should be long enough or flexible in order to allow access to justice.
- State compensation should be decided upon timely (< 6 months)
- Distinguishing certain categories with all-in symbolic amounts might help in timeliness of the decision
- No administrative fees should be charged to apply for state compensation
- Procedures should be in place to enforce that awarded compensation will be paid to the victim, e.g. by means of a state advance payment scheme, which is monitored and run by a Central Judicial Collection Agency, a governmental body taking care of collecting all court ordered penalties, collecting the money back from offender
- An adhesion procedure should be in place
- A standard compensation form increases likelihood to get compensation awarded
- In all five countries, legal aid for victims of sexual crimes is state-funded, regardless of income
- No court fee should be applied