Victim protection portal nrw
Victim protection
Anyone who has been the victim of a crime, accident or other misfortune often feels helpless and alone. However, there are numerous legal options to help people who have become victims.

The following are key words and excerpts from the support services provided by the legislator:

  • Support during criminal proceedings (support from a trusted person, legal advisor/victim advocate, psychosocial trial support in court and, if necessary, for the hearing of witnesses by the police ...) for questioning witnesses at the police station, granting of legal aid in case of need ...),
  • confidentiality of personal details if there is reasonable cause for concern that the legal interests of the witness or another person could be jeopardized by disclosing the place of residence,
  • ancillary prosecution, adhesion proceedings, victim-offender mediation and rights to information in criminal proceedings.

You can find more detailed information in the "Information sheet on the rights of injured and aggrieved parties in criminal proceedings", which will be given to you when you file a complaint, or in the Victim's Guide from the Federal Ministry of Justice.


The adhesion procedure: Compensation in criminal proceedings

If you have been the victim of a crime, you can claim damages or compensation for pain and suffering not only by bringing an action before the civil court, but also in criminal proceedings against the defendant (adhesion proceedings). Punishment and compensation payments are then decided in one procedure, in short: "2 in 1".

A decision of this kind requires that there is a main criminal court hearing and a verdict.

If the perpetrator was under the age of 18 when the crime was committed, the "2 in 1" principle is generally excluded.

Further information on adhesion proceedings can be found here.


Victim-offender mediation: mediation, opportunities and consequences

Victim-offender mediation offers offenders and victims the opportunity to resolve a conflict out of court and without bureaucracy with the involvement of a mediator. The aim is to achieve amicable and fair compensation for the damage caused for both sides.

Successful victim-offender mediation can also lead to a reduction in the sentence or cause the proceedings to be discontinued even before charges are brought or the main trial begins.

Further information on victim-offender mediation can be found here.


Trauma care services

Victims are often traumatized after a crime, especially after an act of violence. They need psychological help quickly. Those affected can receive this help in so-called trauma outpatient clinics. These are clinics that are particularly competent in dealing with psychological injuries. Victims of violence receive immediate counseling and, if necessary, therapeutic care here.

North Rhine-Westphalia has a nationwide network of such trauma outpatient clinics and is thus better positioned than any other federal state in Germany.

The police can refer victims to the service provider (Landschaftsverbände Rheinland and Westfalen-Lippe), which will refer them to trauma outpatient clinics.

Trauma_ambulances in the Rhineland

Trauma outpatient clinics in Westphalia-Lippe


Social compensation for victims

In Germany, the state has a duty to combat crime and protect citizens from criminal acts. Victims of a violent crime have a fundamental right to compensation. The requirements for this have been regulated in the Social Compensation Law - Social Code XIV (SGB XIV) - since 01.01.2024. The aim of social compensation law is to restore the physical and mental health of those affected as far as possible so that they can return to work and society.

Family members and surviving dependants as well as close relatives of victims who have been killed as a result of a violent crime are also entitled to survivors' benefits, death and funeral benefits.

To clarify any claims, please contact the Landschaftsverband Rheinland (LVR) in Cologne or the Landschaftsverband Westfalen-Lippe (LWL) in Münster. For advice and information, the regional associations have set up the phone number 0800 / 654 654 6 - free of charge for calls from landlines in NRW. So-called case managers from the regional associations support victims throughout the entire compensation process.

Victims and their relatives are not left alone with questions about contacting the pension office and applying for benefits under the Social Compensation Act or Europe-wide victim compensation. The police and victim support organizations (such as WEISSER RING e. V.) are there to help.


Victim support services

A wide range of support options for victims of crime, such as human support, personal assistance, help in dealing with authorities, assistance vouchers for an initial legal or psycho-traumatological consultation, recovery measures, assistance in cases of need.

You can reach WEISSER RING e. V. via the free victim hotline 116 006, where you can find out, for example, how to reach a branch office near you

subvenio e.V.
Free advice and concrete help for accident victims of all kinds, assistance in dealing with authorities, help in finding a suitable specialist lawyer, help in finding initial medical-psychological advice, accompaniment to court appointments, discussions with those affected and referrals to help from other organizations.

Verkehrsunfall-Opferhilfe Deutschland e.V.
The state of NRW has been cooperating with Verkehrsunfallopferhilfe Deutschland e. V. (VOD) since May 11, 2017. The aim of the cooperation is to provide professional support to the physically and psychologically traumatized victims of traffic accidents. A VOD contact person is available for victims within 24 hours and can refer them to (self-help) organizations on request.


Useful links
Victim information on important crime phenomena, information and tips, for example on the course of criminal proceedings, brochures and other media from the state and federal police crime prevention services.
The information portal on victim protection and victim support issues in North Rhine-Westphalia. Special areas of victim protection where there are specific needs (victims of child abuse, victims in the school sector, victims of violence and discrimination, senior citizens as victims, etc.). All applicable federal and state laws can be found in a database.

Very clear presentation of the processes and participation rights of victims in criminal proceedings.

Victim protection
An empathetic, non-judgmental and non-discriminatory approach to the victim does justice to them and their situation. It focuses on the person who has been harmed. This creates the conditions for a functioning and trusting cooperation.
Victim protection and victim support are integral parts of police work in North Rhine-Westphalia.
Private lawsuit
Insult, damage to property, bodily harm: what to do?
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In urgent cases: Police emergency number 110