Victims’ Rights are Human Rights – Right to state compensation strengthened
For almost ten years, there has been a movement to improve state compensation for victims of crime in Germany. As the only federal Victim Support Organisation in Germany with more than 40 years of experience in victim support and the Victim Compensation Law, WEISSER RING has actively taken part in this process.
In summer 2018, WEISSER RING developed a draft of a Social Compensation Act oriented to the actual needs of victims of crime and published it.
At the end of November 2018, the Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs published a draft act which was completely rejected by WEISSER RING Germany. This encouraged political discussions.
After WEISSER RING had invited responsible politicians and associations (like NGO’s) to Berlin to an open discussion about our own draft from summer 2018, many constructive discussions with the ministry and political decision-makers followed. A lot was changed and finally, the Federal Cabinet adopted a reform of social compensation law, which was then welcomed by the victim support organization WEISSER RING.
„As a result of a continued and constructive exchange between WEISSER RING and Hubertus Heil’s Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, a social compensation law has now been launched that will bring decisive improvements to victims of crime and their relatives. We have worked intensively on this legislative process and are therefore all the more pleased that our core demands – i.e. the contents that are of particular importance to those affected – have been taken into account in the amendment of the compensation law”, said Jörg Ziercke, Federal Chairman of WEISSER RING. These core demands include, for example, the continuation of the claim for compensation for occupational damage and vocational rehabilitation.
The Act has since been passed by the German Bundestag and Bundesrat and was already published in the Federal Law Gazette.
“It is gratifying to see that there is a broad social consensus that the state must take care of those affected. It cannot prevent all actions, but it can take responsibility, acknowledge the suffering of the victims and provide them with adequate support and compensation”, said Ziercke.
The compensation payments were increased significantly. In future, it will be possible to compensate for the consequences of attacks with a motor vehicle. Serious psychological violence will also qualify for benefits. In addition, foreign nationals receive the same benefits as Germans. Furthermore, the law contains facilitations of evidence which make access to benefits possible in the first place.
For WEISSER RING and victims of crime in Germany, an eventful year comes to an end… We all hope this new law will pave the way for better and faster compensation for victims of crime.