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Compensation scheme for victims of criminal offences

A temporary advisory board, whose members include Antony Pemberton from NSCR, will investigate a compensation scheme for victims of criminal offences. The Dutch cabinet has approved the proposal for this from the Minister for Legal Protection, Sander Dekker. The temporary advisory board will issue its advice to Minister Dekker in February 2021.

Compensating damage is an important aspect of providing justice to victims. It contributes to the compensation of material damage suffered and offers recognition for what the victim has been through.

In legally complex cases, the victim is left bearing the costs

The current system of compensation provisions, which has developed gradually over the years, proves no longer adequate in practice. For example, victims with simple damage claims can become involved in the criminal justice process and the government can (partly) provide an advance on the damages and collect these on the victim’s behalf. However, that is not possible for more complex legal damages. In such cases, the victims need to go to the civil court of law. That is often a longer procedure, in which the victim has to pay the court fees and collect the damages. If the perpetrator has no money, then the victim is left bearing the damages.

Advice for a more consistent and affordable compensation system

How much compensation a victim receives nowadays depends on whether a perpetrator has been identified. If no perpetrator has been identified, a victim can only turn to the Violent Offences Compensation Fund for financial compensation. Furthermore, this is only possible for victims of certain violent and sexual crimes, whereas victims of other crimes can also experience considerable damages.
The board will advise on the possibilities to realise a balanced, consistent and affordable system for damages and compensation for victims. It will also advise on the government’s role in this.

Members of the advisory board

Piet Hein Donner, chair (Minister of State and former vice president of the Council of State), Siewert Lindenbergh (Professor of Private Law Erasmus University Rotterdam), Wouter Veraart (Professor of Legal Philosophy VU Amsterdam), Antony Pemberton, (senior researcher NSCR, Professor of Restorative Justice KU Leuven and Professor of Victimology Tilburg University), Suzan van der Aa (Professor of Criminal Law and Criminal Procedure Maastricht University) and José Lazeroms (until 1 July interim director-general Dutch Tax and Customs Administration).

Read more about the NSCR research programme into victims and NSCR/VU Amsterdam research into victims’ rights.

Prof. Antony Pemberton

Senior Researcher

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