The claim for compensation – damages and/or moral compensation – against the perpetrator may be submitted in two ways: during criminal proceedings and as a separate civil claim. 

Compensation during criminal proceedings

A victim may request compensation during criminal proceedings in the form of civil action through the police or the prosecutor. This has to be done as soon as possible, but no later than ten days as of the date of submission of the criminal file to the participants for examination. The amount of damages must be supported by evidence, for example, receipts for hospitalization, other medical care, medication and others. The victim can receive more detailed information from the police investigator, who also helps to fill the corresponding form that can later be specified or changed.

The decision on the amount of compensation awarded is made by the court simultaneously with the decision on the criminal responsibility of the perpetrator. If the court denies the claim fully or in part, the court’s decision may be appealed in the circuit court, and afterwards in the Supreme Court. If the claim for compensation is denied fully or in part after all instances of the court, the victim may still submit a civil claim for the amount of compensation that has been denied during the criminal proceedings.

Compensation as a separate civil claim

A victim may submit a claim for compensation as a separate claim for damages in civil proceedings to the county court. To bring a damages claim in civil proceedings, it is not necessary for criminal proceedings to be initiated. It means that if the victim does not want to commence criminal proceedings or if the act of domestic violence does not qualify as a crime under the Penal Code, the victim of domestic violence still has the right to receive compensation for the damages and moral suffering caused by the perpetrator.

The claim in civil proceedings may also be brought even if the accused has been acquitted in criminal proceedings.

Compensation from the State

Victims of domestic violence are entitled to state compensation according to the Victim Support Act. Compensation is paid to victims of crime of violence and the dependants of the victims. ‘Crime of violence’ is defined as a punishable act committed against the life or health of a person as a result of which the person dies, sustains serious damage to health, or sustains a health disorder lasting for at least four months. In addition, victims of offences which do not fall under the definition of ‘crime of violence’ have the right to receive compensation for the cost of psychological care. 

Applications for compensation must be submitted to the Social Insurance Board within three years as of the commission of the crime, or the death of the victim. The application forms are available on the Social Insurance Board website and service points. The applicant has to state the amount of compensation applied for on the basis of medical documents, documents certifying income, documents certifying direct expenses incurred as a result of the crime, and documents certifying compensation received from other sources in connection with the same damage, and all such documents must be appended to the application. The Social Insurance Board decides on the applications in 30 days. If the applicant does not agree with the decision, the applicant has the right to file a challenge with the Social Insurance Board pursuant to the procedure provided for in the General Part of the Social Code Act or an appeal with an administrative court pursuant to the procedure provided for in the Code of Administrative Court Procedure.

Compensation & Human rights

Compensation to victims is one of the components of proper redress in cases where they have suffered from physical or emotional violence. Therefore, the State is responsible, firstly, to ensure that the legal framework provides for an opportunity to request such compensation, and secondly, to ensure that the claims for compensation are considered by the pertinent state authorities according to law. 

The failure to ensure the legal regulations providing for compensation or the failure by the pertinent state authorities to award compensation according to the appropriate legal regulations may result in a violation of the right to an effective remedy. 

Human Rights Guide

A European platform for human rights education