Fund for victims of crimes paid out 8.8 million last year

The central compensation fund for victims of violent crimes paid out 8.8 million euros last year to people who lost someone in a violent incident or to victims who survived a serious crime.
Flowers at the child care centre Fabeltjesland in Dendermonde, where Kim De Gelder stabbed several babies and a nurse in January 2009. The trial is yet to start.

The solidarity fund does not pay damages as such, as this has to be done by the offender(s). It was created to give victims financial support and some extra breathing space, as it often takes years before a trial is finished. On top of that, once a suspect of a crime has been convicted, he or she often can't pay the money as he simply doesn't have the cash to do this. In other cases, the offender(s) could get away and are never found.

The maximum amount victims are entitled to is 62,000 euros. A number of restrictions have been set: the fund only applies to certain cases, like a serious criminal offence or a disaster and not to a traffic accident. If someone dies in the incident, only siblings, parents or children of the victim can claim compensation.

Still, lawyers and organisations providing mental help for victims find that the fund is not well-known. Victims also have a long way to go before they can actually receive any money: medical and judicial procedures are quite long and complicated.