Right to compensation

It is only fair that anyone who suffers losses because of a crime should be compensated for such losses. The duty to compensate falls on the culprit and other persons that are liable for damages caused by him or her. But, in some cases, the State may advance this compensation when the victim is facing financial difficulties or there are no prospects to obtain compensation from the offender within a reasonable period.

Compensation from the offender

Victims are entitled to be compensated by the offender for both the material and immaterial damage which he or she has caused to them.

As a rule, compensation should be claimed within the criminal proceedings. If you have suffered material or immaterial damage by crime, you should lodge a civil claim in the case. Civil claims are usually lodged in the beginning of pre-trial investigation, in this case officials leading pre-trial investigation would have a duty to gather evidence to substantiate the civil claim along with evidence on the guilt of the culprit and all the other relevant circumstances of the case. Civil claims can be lodged at a later stage of the procedure also, however before the trial starts.

You can request the culprit to compensate both material and immaterial damage you have suffered. You should also note that in some cases some other persons along with the culprit can be requested to compensate the damage caused by crime, e.g. parents would have to cover costs of your property stolen by their juvenile children, or a company would have to cover damage caused by a traffic crime committed by its employee, etc. In this case you should indicate these other persons in the civil claim submitted.

Material damage comprises a) damage caused directly by the crime (e.g. value of property lost, cost of medicines, etc.), and b) income that you have not received because of the crime (e.g. salaries and remunerations that you didn’t receive because you were unable to work). Immaterial damage comprises losses which cannot be assessed financially and can only be compensated by obliging the culprit to pay a certain sum to the injured party. Moral damage includes, for example, physical pain, psychological distress, emotional suffering, damage to reputation, etc.

In case the civil claim has been lodged in the case, the inculpatory judgment will indicate what damages are to be covered and what sums are to be paid to the injured party (victim). When an exculpatory judgment is passed the court can either dismiss a civil claim (if the court decides that the defendant did not commit the acts incriminated) or leave the civil claim to be decided through a civil procedure (if the court decides that the acts incriminated to the defendant did not constitute a crime). In the latter case you would have a right to lodge the civil claim repeatedly through a civil procedure. When the culprit or other persons obliged to cover the damage you suffered do not compensate it voluntarily, you should apply to a court for an enforcement order and then to submit it to a bailiff.

Compensation from the state for victims of violent crimes

Protection for victims of violent crimes includes payment of compensation from the State, when the damage caused was not covered voluntarily by the culprit and the bailiff did not have any real chances to force recovery of the damage caused.

The compensations are paid only after an inculpatory judgment has been passed. To receive the compensation you would have to fill and to submit a form of application for compensation to the Ministry of Justice, the time limit to submit an application is 10 years after the crime was committed.

The laws also establish that in certain exceptional cases you could apply for a compensation in advance, i.e. before a sentence in the case is passed (you can find the form of application here). These are exceptional cases, when there is a need to cover expenses of immediate necessity (health care and funeral expenses, income foregone due to crime suffered, etc.).


I was a victim of crime: consequences and reactions The rights of victims of crime Criminal proceedings Who’s who in criminal proceedings


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