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As a victim of a crime you have rights

Are you the victim of a crime? Or are you a surviving relative of a victim? If so, you have a number of rights. These rights also apply if you do not live in the Netherlands or if you have no residency status in the Netherlands.

1. Information

You have a right to information, not only about your rights, but also about reporting a crime and about what happens to your case after that. If you want, we will keep you informed about your case. If you have any questions about what is happening to your case, you should call the police or the Public Prosecution Service. If any of your property has been seized, you have a right to information about this.

2. Free assistance

For free assistance, advice and information, you can contact a number of organizations, for example Victim Support Netherlands. Victim Support Netherlands can provide legal, practical and emotional support.

3. Protection

Do you fear for your safety? Are you afraid that you may be the victim of another offence, for example? If so, you should talk to us about this. Together with you, we will assess what we can do to protect you and what action you can take yourself. If you report a crime to the police, you can ask us not to put your address in your report, for example.

4. Reporting a criminal offence 

Anyone may report a criminal offence to the police, including minors. There are several ways to report a criminal offence - via the Internet or by telephone, for instance. The best way for you to report a criminal offence also depends on what happened. Before reporting a criminal offence, you will be given information about what happens during your report and afterwards.

5. Representation 

You may always be represented by a lawyer, for example when you make your report to the police or during the criminal hearing. In a number of cases, legal aid is free. If you want someone else to represent you, for example a friend, a family member, or a staff member of Victim Support Netherlands, you can ask the police or the public prosecutor. If you are not allowed to do so, they will explain to you why not.

6. Interpreter

Do you find Dutch difficult? If so, you can ask for an interpreter. If we arrange an interpreter for you, for example during the report to the police or the interview, this will be free of charge. If you want a written translation of the documents about your report or the criminal case, you should send a letter to the public prosecutor or the judge. Victim Support Netherlands or a lawyer can help you with this.

7. Compensation 

Did you suffer damage as a result of the criminal offence and is there a suspect? If so, it is often possible to request compensation from the offender. The public prosecutor or the judge will then decide whether the offender has to compensate you for the damage. In some cases, the Criminal Injuries Compensation Fund (Schadefonds Geweldsmisdrijven) can pay you compensation for your damage. A lawyer or Victim Support Netherlands can help you with this.

8. Contact with the offender 

You may ask for contact with the suspect or offender. Victim Support Netherlands can refer you to organizations that will help you to come into contact with a suspect or offender. They will then ask the suspect or offender if he wants contact with you as well. If this is the case, you are allowed to contact the individual.

9. Good treatment 

The organizations you are in contact with about your case must treat you well. And they have to take account of what matters to you. If you think you have not been treated well, you can submit a complaint to the organization that has treated you badly.

10. Your other rights as a victim

You also have other rights during the criminal proceedings. 

  • You may complain if the Public Prosecution Service decides that there will be no criminal proceedings.
  • You may ask to inspect the file of the criminal case. 
  • You can be paid compensation if you have to testify.
  • In a number of cases, you have a right to address the court. 
  • You have a right to be informed if the suspect or offender is granted leave, released, or escape.