In Germany, both governmental institutions, which offer assistance at the federal state level, and non-governmental organisations provide victim support. The Hilfe-info.de website gives an overview of the victims’ commissioners and the central contact points for each federal state. While victims of certain crimes e.g. digital violence, extremist attacks, etc. may reach out to specialist organisations, WEISSER RING – Germany’s largest non-profit organisation – is the sole nationwide provider helping victims of all kinds of crimes.
WEISSER RING offers confidential professional help, free of charge, to all victims of crimes and to their relatives and friends. With more than 400 branches across Germany, our volunteers assist all victims, by supporting them and informing them of their rights and options. Depending on the individual’s needs, volunteers are available to accompany victims to a police station to file a report, or to go with them to court hearings, or to help them fill out relevant forms and applications. If you have specific needs, a support service may refer you to another organisation; staff will help you to do this.
WEISSER RING can help you to receive financial aid and to claim compensation by providing you with information and assistance with applications. If you have been the victim of an intentional physically violent crime in Germany and have suffered damage to your health as a result, you can submit a claim for victim compensation; compensation may also be paid to the surviving dependents of anyone killed as a result of a crime. The Crime Victims’ Compensation Act (Opferentschädigungsgesetz, OEG) sets out the various benefits for those affected, including curative and medical treatment as well as care services, medical aids (e.g. prostheses, wheelchairs), compensation payments, funeral and death benefits or additional welfare benefits in case of financial need.
In general, all injured parties are entitled to the benefits, regardless of their nationality or residence status. An application for compensation can be filed informally or using the national standard form provided by the government.
Emergency service & fire department
0800 111 0 111
Victim Support Helpline & Support at a Distance
The Victim Helpline
For many victims, asking for assistance is the most difficult step; our helpline, with online counselling, hopes to make this easier for you. The Victim Helpline – 116 006 – is toll free (within Germany); it is confidential and accessible, it is available 7 days a week between 7am-10pm and our volunteers are there to tell you how you may receive help.
If you wish, they will put you in contact with our field offices or other support organisations. After you’ve taken the difficult decision to reach out, we want to make the support process easy for you.
Please note that no legal advice or psychological treatment can be provided through these channels.
Rights of victims of crime in Germany
Victims of crime have a set of rights which they can exercise in order to meet their needs and defend their interests and expectations. Victims have, amongst others, the right to information, protection and compensation. These rights are set out not only in German national laws but also in international legal instruments, such as the EU-Directive which establishes the minimum standards on the rights, support, and protection of victims of crime.
Learn more about your rights at: