Compensation

If you have been affected by a crime, you may be able to file for compensation. However, your eligibility for compensation will be determined by the type of crime you have experienced and the respective Compensation Authority that will be reviewing your application. If you need advice on this matter, please seek a victim support counselling centre.

The following summary provides significant information regarding compensation.

If you are a victim of a violent crime and as a result suffer damage to your health, you are entitled to compensation under the Victims’ Compensation Act. Benefits under the Victims’ Compensation Act are medical treatment, curative medical care, therapy, pension, medical aid such as wheelchairs and prosthesis, funeral grants, etc. No compensation is paid for pain and suffering (Schmerzensgeld).

Anyone, regardless of nationality, citizenship or residence who is a victim of an intentional act of violence within Germany is eligible for compensation. German citizens who have suffered injuries due to a violent crime in another country may apply for compensation under certain conditions.  Applications and compensation claims are handled on a case to case basis depending on the facts and circumstances of the case. Victim support counselling centres can assist you with the application process. Applications for compensation under the Victims’ Compensation Act can be submitted to your local compensation authorities. In Berlin:

LAGeSo – Landesamt für Gesundheit und Soziales - Soziales Entschädigungsrecht – Versorgung und Fürsorge
(Regional Office for Health and Social Affairs Berlin – Social Compensation Law  – Health and Social Care)
Sächsische Str. 28
10707 Berlin
Telephone: +49 30 902296270
Website:https://service.berlin.de/dienstleistung/325469/ (only in German)
Also check this information sheet in German, Turkish, English, Russian, Polish and Vietnamese.

You can find further information at the Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs (Bundesministerium für Arbeit und Soziales):

For acts of violence wherein damages and injuries were caused by a motor vehicle or trailer, victims are NOT entitled to compensation under the Victims’ Compensation Act. However, these damages and injuries can be compensated by the Verkehrsopferhilfe e.V. (German Motor Liability Vehicle Insurers). This also includes damages and injuries caused by

  • unidentified vehicles (hit-and-run driving)
  • uninsured vehicles
  • vehicles used intentionally and unlawfully as a weapon
  • when the motor vehicle liability insurer becomes insolvent

Further information on the German Motor Liability Vehicle Insurers can be found here:

Verkehrsopferhilfe e.V.
(German Motor Liability Vehicle Insurers)
Wilhelmstr. 43 / 43 G
10117 Berlin
Telephone: +49 30 20205858
Website: http://www.verkehrsopferhilfe.de/en/

The German Bundestag provides emergency aid to victims of extremist attacks. It is a one-off voluntary government payment. Extremist attacks include bodily harm motivated by right-wing, xenophobic, racist, anti -Semitic, Islamist or left-wing extremism. It also includes severe threats. The hardship compensation can provide payment for physical injuries and for violations of general personal rights (compensation for pain and suffering). Payments for material damages are not included. Survivors, bereaved families and people who suffer damages to their health as a result of fending off an extremist attack towards another person may apply for compensation. Written applications should be sent to the Bundesamt für Justiz (Federal Office of Justice). More information as well as an information sheet for the compensation of victims of extremist attacks in English, French and Turkish can be found here (only in German).

Bundesamt für Justiz Härteleistungen
(Federal Office of Justice Hardship Compensation)
53094 Bonn
Telephone: +49 228 99410-5288
E-mail address:

Victims of politically motivated extremist violence can apply for financial assistance for security measures such as locks, surveillance cameras or alarm systems, or for necessary moving costs.
Those eligible for funding are private individuals, non-profit organisations and associations or action groups that are affected or threatened by politically motivated extremist violence.
Please contact a victim support counselling centre if you need assistance with the application. You can find the application form and further information in many languages here (only in German).

Landeskommission Berlin gegen Gewalt
(Berlin State Commission against Violence)
Klosterstraße 47
10179 Berlin
Contact persons
Fr. Aydin Telephone: +49 30 90223-1680
Fr. Gomis Telephone: +49 30 90223-1679
Hr. Boeck Telephone: +49 30 90223-1695
Fax: +49 30 90223-2921
E-mail address:

In the event of a terrorist attack in Germany, the Federal Office of Justice (Bundesamt für Justiz) works in close cooperation with the Federal Government Commissioner for the Victims and Bereaved of Terrorist Offences Committed on National Territory.
In the event of a terrorist attack abroad, the Federal Office of Justice works closely together with the coordination office of the Federal Government for Aftercare, Support for Victims and their Relatives (Koordinierungsstelle Nachsorge, Opfer- und Angehörigenhilfe, NOAH) at the Federal Office of Civil Protection and Disaster Assistance (Bundesamt für Bevölerungsschutz).

In both cases, a victim can file an application for compensation for physical injuries at the Federal Office of Justice if he/she is in urgent need of support due to humanitarian reasons. This however does not apply for material damages. Those eligible for compensation are:

  • Victims of a terrorist attack in Germany
  • German citizens and foreigners with a residence permit for the Federal Republic of Germany who have been injured as a result of an overseas terrorist attack
  • Parents, children, spouse or civil partner as well as siblings of a victim who was killed in terrorist attack.

Individuals who in the line of duty have been injured in terrorist crime cannot receive compensation from this Fund. The Statutory Accident Insurance, among others, is responsible for these cases. The Hardship Compensation for terrorist attacks only applies if the terrorist attack took place after 1 January 2001. You will find more information here (only in German).

Bundesamt für Justiz Härteleistungen
(Federal Office of Justice Hardship Compensation)
53094 Bonn
Telephone: +49 228 99410-5288
E-mail address:

Employees who experience an incident of crime while working (for example, robbery at a supermarket) may claim compensation from the Victim Compensation Act as well as from their Statutory Accident Insurance/Workers Compensation Association (gesetzliche Unfallversicherung/Berufsgenossenschaft), as criminal incidents at the workplace may qualify as an occupational accident.

There are considerable benefits; in addition to medical treatment, victims receive a variety of financial benefits, pension payments as well as a comprehensive care program to enable them to return to work. Individuals who provide assistance during an accident, a dangerous or emergency situation or rescue someone despite risk to his/her health are also entitled to compensation from the Statutory Accident Insurance. The insurance also covers individuals who provide assistance during pursuit or arrest of a person suspected of a crime, or while defending someone from an unlawful assault.

The Statutory Accident Insurance of the Federal State where the incident occurred is responsible for reviewing and processing your claims. In the event of such cases, an accident report form must be filled and sent to the Statutory Accident Insurance together with invoices or medical reports. The accident report form (Unfallanzeige) can be found on the website of the Statutory Accident Insurance.

Sometimes the easiest way to receive compensation is through an amicable solution. Both parties involved in a crime can be made aware of the possibility of victim-offender mediation (VOM) during police questioning.

VOM is generally possible for almost all offenses and it can proceed with the following requirements: the victim has been harmed by the accused and the accused admits at least some responsibility for the harm caused to the victim. If the victim agrees to a VOM, the police department handling the case can initiate or propose a VOM procedure to the public prosecutor's office. The public prosecutor's office or the court will then assign a counselling centre to handle the mediation. The mediation will be handled by qualified conflict counsellors.
There are two offices in Berlin that provide VOM services:

Täter-Opfer-Ausgleich der Sozialen Dienste der Justiz Berlin
(Victim-Offender Mediation, Social Services of Justice Berlin)
Schönstedtstr. 5
13357 Berlin
Telephone: +49 30 90156-250
Telephone: +49 30 90156-328
Fax: +49 30 90156-294
Website:https://www.berlin.de/sen/justiz/soziale-dienste-der-justiz/spezialisierte-angebote/taeter-opfer-ausgleich/ (only in German)

EJF-  Integrationshilfe für Kinder und Jugendliche (Täter-Opfer-Ausgleich für jugendliche Beschuldigte von 14-21 Jahren)
EIJF – Integration Assistance for Children and Young People (Victim-Offender Mediation for accused juveniles aged 14-21)
Bugenhagenstraße 12
10551 Berlin
Telephone: +49 30 4295841
Fax: +49 30 4294196
E-mail address:
Website:https://www.ejf.de/einrichtungen/kinder-und-jugendhilfe/integrationshilfe/taeter-opfer-ausgleich-berlin.html (only in German)

A victim of crime has the right to claim compensation for damages (Schadenersatz) and compensation for pain and suffering (Schmerzensgeld) from the offender. There are two ways to enforce your claim:

  • A) Through legal proceedings at a civil court: The victim must sue the offender for damages in the criminal proceedings in a district or regional court and claim fair compensation depending on the extent of damage. Since these proceedings are quite risky and have specific rules and requirements, please seek legal support before enforcing your claim.
  • B) Through the adhesion procedure: Adhesion procedure (Adhäsionsverfahren) is when the victims of a criminal offense or their heirs pursue their claims for compensation for damages and for pain and suffering as part of the criminal proceedings rather than in a separate civil action. The application for the compensation claim may be in written or verbal form and submitted to the court at any stage of the proceedings, with the assumption that criminal proceedings will take place. The adhesion procedure can only proceed if the victim has NOT filed his/her claims for compensation at a civil court. Please get legal advice as the adhesive procedure has many legal aspects which need to be considered carefully! If the offender was a minor at the time of the offence, adhesive procedures are not allowed. More information on the adhesion procedure you can find here.

Further information on the rights of victims of crime.