Assistance to victims of crime
10 Questions - 10 Answers: Practical explanations relating to the Law of 12 March 1984 on compensation to certain victims having suffered injuries resulting from crime and relating to access for compensation in cross-border situations as foreseen in the Council Directive 2004/80/EC of 29 April 2004 relating to compensation of crime victims.
- Under which conditions the victim may receive compensation?
- How to proceed ?
- What are the time limits for you to request compensation?
- Who examines your request and what is the procedure of examination?
- What amount may be awarded for compensation?
- What form does compensation take?
- Is there a possibility to appeal against the Minister’s decision?
- Are you allowed to continue to claim for compensation against the criminal perpetrator?
- Is it possible to achieve compensation if the crime was committed abroad?
- Where can you get more information?
You are a victim of crime and have suffered injuries (for instance assault intentional injuries, rape etc.)
Procedural law allows you to assert your patrimonial claims within the criminal procedure, so that you may achieve compensation if the accused person is declared guilty.
In many situations, however, your right for obtaining compensation would be illusory, especially in the following cases:
- the criminal perpetrator could not be identified
- the criminal perpetrator is identified, but could not be located
- the criminal perpetrator is insolvent.
The law of 12 March 1984 on compensation to certain victims having suffered injuries resulting from crime, as completed by laws of 14 April 1992 and 6 October 2009, foresees, on behalf of the State budget, a right for certain victims of crime to get compensation paid by the State budget. This is an important measure in favour of the victim.
1. Under which conditions the victim may receive compensation?
Following conditions have to be fulfilled:
- the victim is eligible for the compensation scheme if:
The damages suffered have to result from intentional acts that present the legal character of an offence.
It has to be a physical injury and not a simple material loss (the compensation in case of a simple theft is for example excluded).
The injury must have caused the victim’s death or a permanent incapacity (it can be partial) or a total incapacity for work lasting at least one month, or the punishable act was a rape.
The damages suffered must entail serious disruption of living conditions; this may be the result of loss or reduction of earnings, an additional expenditure, an inability to engage in an occupation, an injury to physical or mental health, the loss of a scholar year, or a mental or esthetic damage.
Compensation will only be paid by State if the victim has been unable to obtain full and adequate compensation by another source (e.g. by the offender, by the social security or by a personal insurance).
- either he/she is has his/her regular and habitual residence in the Grand Duchy,
- or he/she is a national of a Member State of the European Union or of the Council of Europe,
- or he/she was staying legally in the territory of the Grand Duchy at the time of the offence and has the nationality of a State that would have offered compensation to a Luxembourg citizen if this citizen had been the victim of a same offence at the same time and under same circumstances in that State.
The compensation may be withheld or reduced on the basis of the victim’s conduct at the time of the offence or of his relationship with the offender.
2. How to proceed ?
Your request for compensation has to be addressed to the Ministry of Justice in writing, either in French, German or Luxembourgish language, and it shall indicate the date, location and exact nature of the deeds you have been a victim of. Supporting documents concerning those deeds and the prejudices that you suffered should be added to your request.
In order to get more information you can contact the Ministry of Justice.
Furthermore, the “Service d’accueil et d’Information juridique” and the “Service d’Aide aux victimes du Service Central d’Assistance sociale” also offer you help and advice for the presentation of your request.
3. What are the time limits for you to request compensation?
To be valid, applications must be made within two years of the offence.
If the offender is prosecuted, the time-limit shall be extended to expire two years after the final judgement of the criminal court or the judgement on the civil liabilities.
If the victim is minor at the moment of the punishable acts, the time limit starts at the majority if the acts are punishable according to articles 372, 373, 375, 382-1 et 382-2, 400, 401bis, 402, 403 or 405 of the criminal code.
4. Who examines your request and what is the procedure of examination?
The Minister transmits the request to a commission consisting of three persons (a magistrate, a senior civil servant of the Ministry of Justice and a lawyer).
The commission will invite the applicant for an audition and collect all useful information, in particular on the course of the events and on the harm suffered. The procedure is not public, the applicant can be assisted by a lawyer but it is not an obligation.
The commission transmits to the Minister of Justice the commission’s opinion on the eligibility of the application and the amount of compensation to be awarded.
The Minister of Justice decides if a compensation shall be awarded or not and he determines the amount to be awarded.
5. What amount may be awarded for compensation?
The compensation awarded may not exceed the maximum amount set each year by regulation (règlement grand-ducal). For 2009 this maximum was set at 63.000. – Euros.
6. What form does compensation take?
The compensation is paid once and does not take the form of a rent. However, in case of necessity duly justified by the victim, the Minister may, during the investigation by the commission, decide on an emergency award (“provision”) to be paid to the applicant.
7. Is there a possibility to appeal against the Minister’s decision?
The person that does not accept the Minister’s decision concerning the principle or the amount he/she has been awarded can intent a legal action against the State, represented by the Minister of Justice, which has to be brought before the “tribunal d’arrondissement” of Luxembourg or Diekirch.
8. Are you allowed to continue to claim for compensation against the criminal perpetrator?
If compensation has been paid, the State is subrogated in your rights and may try to recover from the criminal perpetrator the amount the State has paid as compensation.
However, you may claim for damages against the offender before court, pretending to additional sums, if you think your damages have not been entirely covered by the compensation you received.
In that case you have to inform the court that you claimed for compensation by the State or that you already received such compensation from the State.
9. Is it possible to achieve compensation if the crime was committed abroad?
On the one hand, the Act of 12 March 1984 on compensation for certain victims of injuries as the result of crime is applicable to persons who have their regular and habitual residence in the Grand Duchy and have been victims of an offence abroad, provided that they have no right for achieving compensation from another State.
On the other hand, according to Directive 2004/80/CE, all Member States are obliged to provide for the existence of a compensation scheme for victims of violent intentional crime committed in their respective territories, which must guarantee fair and appropriate compensation to victims.
If you are habitually resident in Luxembourg and have been a victim of a violent intentional offence in another Member State of the European Union, you may require assistance from Luxembourg’s Ministry of Justice, in order to get basic information concerning existing possibilities to claim compensation in this another Member State and for ensuring transmission of Your application for compensation to the authority competent in that another Member State for deciding on the merits of Your application (the “deciding authority”).
The Ministry of Justice will also assist you this way if complementary information is required by the deciding authority of the other Member State.
The Ministry of Justice will eventually collaborate with the deciding authority of the other Member State for organizing Your audition by that authority, for example through means of a teleconference. The deciding authority might also entrust the Ministry of Justice with collecting your oral statements which will be sent in a report to the deciding authority of the other Member State.
10. Where can you get more information?
For any complementary information you can contact:
- Ministry of Justice
Monday to Friday from 8.00 to 12.00
- Service d’Aide aux Victimes
Service Central d’Assistance Sociale
12-18 rue Joseph Junck
(tel. 47 58 21-627 / 628)
Monday to Friday from 8.00 to 12.00 and from 14.00 to 18.00
- the Service d’Accueil et d’Information juridique
- in Luxembourg
(tel. 22 18 46)
Monday to Friday from 8.30 to 11.00 and from 14.30 to 17.00
- in Esch-sur-Alzette
Justice de Paix,
Place de la Résistance
(tel. 54 15 52)
Tuesday to Thursday from 8.30 to 11.00 and from
14.30 to 17.00
- in Diekirch
Justice de Paix
8-10, Place J. Bech
(tel. 80 23 15)
Wednesday from 9.00 to 11.30 and from 14.30 to 17.00
Friday from 15.00 to 17.00