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Victims of Terrorism Policies and Legislation in Europe: An Overview on Victim Related Assistance and Support

NCJ Number
Hans-Jorg Albrecht; Michael Kilchling
Date Published
65 pages
This paper examines European legislation and policies regarding compensation and services for victims of terrorist acts, and recommendations are offered.
The paper notes that major terrorist attacks that produce scores of victims will remain rare events in Europe, with the exception of the Russian Federation, where the pace of terrorist attacks will continue to be determined by the armed conflict in Chechenia. Also, criminal trials against individual terrorist offenders for specific acts will remain the exception rather than the rule. Consequently, an effective victim compensation system that allows for a timely response to victim needs must be implemented separately from the criminal justice system. This excludes, therefore, a compensation system under which victims must seek restitution from individual offenders convicted in a criminal trial. Such a system is the only option available to crime victims in a number of countries surveyed. Further, it is reasonable to make compensation of victims of terrorism part of general victim compensation legislation rather than develop a support and compensation scheme exclusively for terrorist victims. Regarding emergency relief and general support and assistance for victims, it is preferable to make this part of general civil and public disaster response plans that are in place in most European countries. Indirect victimization among members of minority communities at risk of being victims of a backlash after a terrorist attack should be made part of response plans. What can be learned from the U.S. model is the general concept of linking asset confiscation policies and victim compensation by allotting confiscated assets from terrorist and terrorist groups in subsidizing nongovernmental organizations and public funds designated for the support or compensation of victims of violence in general and/or victims of terrorism in particular. 118 notes