Financial Compensation Guide (available in English)
Financial Compensation Guide (available in Romanian)
Financial Compensation Guide (available in Bulgarian)
Financial Compensation Guide (available in Greek)
Financial Compensation Guide (available in Spanish)
Financial Compensation Guide (available in Italian)
The EU Directive of 2012 was a significant milestone in setting minimum binding practices and even if EU Member States transposed its provisions into their national legislation, still more actions need to be implemented to ensure better rights protection for victims of crime, including also access to an equitable financial compensation.
A significant percentage of all victims of crime are women. Violence against women is a widespread problem also in the European Union and there is a need to do more in order to protect women, including better access to the criminal justice system.
In practice there are still many challenges that women victims face when claiming compensation, such as: lack of comprehensive information on financial compensation, difficulties in receiving compensation from the offender, costly procedures, restrictive-time limits, insufficient access to legal assistance.
The benefits ascribed to financial compensation are both practical and symbolical. A primary objective of compensation schemes is to address the financial impact of crime on the victim, such as medical costs or loss of income. While some victims believe that no amount of money will compensate them for their experience, it is important to stress that money represent a symbol or value and importance, and is necessary in order to send the message that the community care about those who have been harmed by the crime. Another strength of the compensation is its potential to empower victims. At its best, the compensation process may help to restore the victim’s sense of control and validate their experiences of trauma. In addition to these benefits of compensation for all victims of crime, there may be also specific benefits – for example in the case of women affected by domestic violence, when the award of financial compensation may actually enable them to leave the abusive relationship.
It is important to stress that the courts must always establish a balance between the damages and the financial compensation that can be awarded to the victim. Many times the damages cannot be quantified according with mathematical criteria, but by analyzing a whole range of indicators and evidences it is possible to grant an amount that can be considered a “just satisfaction”.
By making an overall analysis of the jurisprudence it is possible to find frequent situations when judges appreciate differently the factual situation and the evidences administrated in certain cases. Sometimes there are different opinions between judges (judge first court vs. judge appeal court) in the way of assessing the damages and the amount of compensation that should be granted to the victim.
It is important to grant financial compensation by estimating the sufferings based on scientific data and also performing an interpretation of data in a personalized manner, on a case-by-case basis taking into account victim’s age, gender, personality, duration and intensity of the physical and psychological harm. The amount of financial compensation must really represent a concrete possibility of alleviating sufferings.
This publication addresses judges and prosecutors involved in criminal cases, in cases that have as legal object to grant financial compensation to women victims of crime. It is also targeting lawyers that provide legal assistance to women victims of crime. The publication addresses topics such as European and national legal framework concerning financial compensation, relevant indicators and evidences to assess the pecuniary and non-pecuniary damages suffered by women victims of crime.