Compensation for victims of crimes
Victims of violent acts who suffer damage as a consequence of a criminal offence and cannot claim compensation from the perpetrator are entitled to compensation provided by the state. Special priority in claiming compensation is given to minors, victims of domestic violence and disabled persons, and victims of unidentified perpetrators and of perpetrators that cannot be prosecuted. Under certain conditions, compensation can also be claimed by the relatives of victims who have lost their life as a consequence of a criminal offence.
The conditions, competent authorities and compensation claim procedure are determined by the Crime Victims Compensation Act. A special procedure can apply in cases when a citizen of another European Union Member State is the victim of a criminal offence committed in the Republic of Slovenia (cross-border cases).
Compensation can be claimed by the victim of a violent intentional crime or by the relatives thereof if the victim has died as a consequence of a criminal offence.
Under the law, a violent intentional crime means an act committed with a direct attack on life and body, with the use of force or violation of sexual integrity, and may be punished with one or more years of imprisonment, in accordance with the Criminal Code.
By law, the relatives of a victim are individuals maintained by the deceased or who had the right to request maintenance pursuant to the Marriage and Family Relations Act
Conditions for granting compensation
Compensation is granted to an applicant who is a citizen of the Republic of Slovenia or other EU Member State.
Additionally, it must be established that:
- a reasonable suspicion exists that a violent intentional crime was committed against the applicant,
- the act was committed within Slovenia’s territory or on board a Slovenian watercraft or aircraft regardless of its location at the time of the act,
- the act was detected or reported and treated as a criminal offence,
- there are no circumstances on the applicant’s part that, pursuant to the Obligations Code, would prevent a damage claim from being filed due to the applicant’s actions during and after the act or his or her contribution to the damage caused,
- the applicant suffered bodily injury, injury to health or mental distress,
- the act caused damage to the applicant which is recognised by this Act,
- it is likely that the perpetrator will not be able to pay compensation for the damage.
Compensation claim procedure and deadlines
A compensation claim is first considered by the Ministry of Justice in an administrative procedure and then decided upon by the Commission deciding on the compensation to victims of criminal acts (the commission) at a session.
Applicants with a special status (minors, disabled persons, victims of domestic violence and victims of unidentified perpetrators) may file a claim no later than six months after the date the criminal offence was committed. If, due to physical injury, the applicant is unable to submit a claim within this time, he or she must submit one no later than three months after the date when the reasons preventing him or her from submitting a claim have ceased to apply, and no later than five years after the date the offence was committed.
Other applicants who have already claimed compensation from the perpetrator in judicial proceedings may file a claim for (state) compensation no later than three months after they were notified that the enforcement was not successful or that the perpetrator does not have the assets to pay the compensation.
Claiming compensation in a domestic cross-border case
A domestic cross-border case means a case where a criminal offence was committed on the territory of the Republic of Slovenia and the victim is a citizen of another EU Member State who files a claim with the competent authority in his or her own EU Member State, which then transmits it to the Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Slovenia, which conducts the procedure. The claim may also be submitted directly to the Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Slovenia and is considered following the standard procedure.
The special procedure in a cross-border case:
- The applicant files a claim with his or her national authority responsible for victim compensation.
- The competent national authority transmits the case to the Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Slovenia on a standard form prescribed by the European Commission. The claim and enclosed documents must be in Slovenian.
- Upon receiving the claim from the competent authority of the other European Union Member State, the ministry responsible for justice communicates the name of the contact person, confirmation of receipt of the claim, and usually also an estimated time frame for making a decision on the claim to the authority and the applicant no later than within 30 days.
- If, in a domestic cross-border case, the commission finds that certain actions are required, such as questioning the applicant, a witness or an expert, it may ask the authority responsible for such actions in the European Union Member State where the applicant filed his or her compensation claim to carry them out.
- The Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Slovenia sends the commission's decision to the applicant and the competent authority of the other state on a standard form prescribed by the European Commission.
Compensation claim and annexes
The claim must be filed in writing on a prescribed form in Slovenian.
The following documents must be enclosed with the claim:
- proof of citizenship,
- a police report on detecting or reporting and dealing with the criminal offence,
- appropriate medical certificates or documents proving that the beneficiary has suffered bodily injury, injury to health or mental distress,
- a statement of the beneficiary on claiming certain types of damage recognised by this Act on the basis of other legal titles,
- other documents in the beneficiary's possession proving that the conditions required under this Act are met.
If an applicant claims compensation after already claiming such from the perpetrator in judicial proceedings, he or she must also enclose:
- a copy of the judgment,
- a copy of the enforcement order and evidence that the enforcement was not successful or evidence that the enforcement was not possible.
A certified copy of a translation must be enclosed with any document drawn up in a foreign language.
Types of damage
The applicant may claim compensation for:
- physical distress or injury to health (from 50 euro up to a maximum of 10.000 euro),
- mental distress (up to a maximum of 10.000 euro),
- damage for mental distress caused by the death of a close relative (up to a total amount of 10.000 euro),
- loss of maintenance (up to a maximum of 20.000 euro),
- treatment costs,
- damage due to the destruction of medical devices.
Payment of the compensation granted
Compensation must be paid within thirty days of the date of the finality of the decision determining the amount of compensation.
The applicant to whom the compensation is granted must, in a written request for payment to the Ministry of Justice, communicate the bank account number to which the amount of compensation is to be transferred and the personal registration number (or personal identification number) and tax identification number of the account holder.
Who decides whether or not to grant compensation?
The decision to grant compensation is made by the Government Commission deciding on the compensation to victims of criminal acts, which consists of the following members: a supreme or higher court judge, a supreme or higher court prosecutor, an expert in injuries, an expert in healthcare and insurance, and an expert in pension and disability insurance.
Claims of the Republic of Slovenia
The beneficiary's (the victim who has received state compensation) claims against the perpetrator of a violent intentional crime pass to the Republic of Slovenia, but only up to the amount of the compensation granted to the beneficiary. Thus, the Republic of Slovenia becomes a beneficiary in the capacity of a creditor in relation to the perpetrator and may request reimbursement of the assets paid to the beneficiary, the victim, from the perpetrator.
In addition, the Republic of Slovenia has the right to request the reimbursement of assets, increased by the accrued interest and costs of the procedures, from the applicant entitled to compensation if the rights are proven to have been obtained based on false information or if the applicant has failed to communicate to the commission the facts that affect the acquisition of such rights.