Government to advance damages claims

26th March 2007, Comments 0 comments

26 March 2007, AMSTERDAM – Victims of violent crime or sex offences will be able to recover damages awarded by the court from the government in future. The state will advance the funds and collect them from the perpetrator.

26 March 2007

AMSTERDAM – Victims of violent crime or sex offences will be able to recover damages awarded by the court from the government in future. The state will advance the funds and collect them from the perpetrator.

Justice Minister Ernst Hirsch Ballin announced an amendment to the law to this effect in a letter to Parliament today.

Parliament has been asking for this type of arrangement for some time. The new system will most likely come into effect by the end of this year and will only affect victims of violent crime or sex offences.

Hirsch Ballin will also introduce other measures to improve the legal position of victims. He will make it possible for instance to anonymously report violent crime. Survivors of murder victims will also be able to claim support from the Damages Fund for Violent Crime. They are now only reimbursed for funeral costs and loss of income.

The new system for damages should put an end to the current arrangement in which victims often have to wait a long time for the perpetrator to pay out damages. The government will now shorten this waiting time by advancing the funds itself and stepping up efforts to recover these from the perpetrator.

Slachtofferhulp Nederland, the victim support organisation in the Netherlands, was extremely pleased with the proposal. A spokesperson did say however that the organisation hoped the arrangement would be expanded in future to also include victims of other crimes, like theft for instance. The Platform Detailhandel Nederland (retailers' association) wants the arrangement also to apply to shoplifting and other crime in the retail sector.

Hirsch Ballin is limiting the arrangement to violent crime and sex offences because there is no insurance against these crimes and they affect the personal integrity of the victim. That is not the case in crimes against property; that is why the government does not plan to pay an advance on damages in those cases.

[Copyright Expatica News + ANP 2007]

Subject: Dutch news

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