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Government Support: Kingdom of the Netherlands
Government Assistance to Victims
Since 2011 the Netherlands has a comprehensive scheme for victims of crime, including terrorist crimes. The Code of Criminal Procedure provides for such scheme (Title IIIA of the Code of Criminal Procedure).
A victim is defined as a person who has incurred financial loss or any other loss as a direct result of a criminal offence. Surviving next of kin have similar rights.
The organisations that provide assistance to victims of crime and terrorism provide specific training schemes for their professionals. The needs of victims are the focal point for these schemes: information, damages, protection, support and due consideration.
Rights of victims and surviving next of kin include:
- The right to information about the investigation and the criminal proceedings, i.e. information about the dates of the court sessions, whether the perpetrator is detained, and whether the convicted’s imprisonment has terminated. The victim is asked beforehand whether he or she wishes to receive such information;
- The right to address the court; victims of serious crimes and surviving next of kin have the right to speak at hearings; they can either orally or in writing tell their story to the court;
- The right to support and assistance; during proceedings victims and surviving next of kin may be assisted by a lawyer or interpreter if needed. In case of serious violent or sexual crimes legal aid is free of charge.
- The right to compensation for the consequences of the crime (material and immaterial damages): victims and surviving next of kin may claim compensation from the offender during criminal proceedings. If the offender has not paid the full amount of compensation within eight months after the final judgment, victims and surviving next of kin may receive an advance payment from the state.
- Victims and surviving next of kin have access to victim support, which is free of charge.
- Victims’ rights apply to criminal proceedings in the Netherlands. The right to victim support applies to all victims and family members present in the Netherlands.
Legal Resources available to Victims
Collaboration with other Organisations
Victim support in the Netherlands is largely a voluntary affair. The main organization for victim support is Victim Support Netherlands, an NGO, which consists of nearly 1300 volunteers and 250 professional employees supporting over 250.000 victims a year.