People who have fallen victim to a criminal or violent offence through no fault of their own often suffer from the resulting physical and psychological consequences. If financial hardship is also added to the equation, help is sometimes needed to get back on their feet. And that is exactly what the North Rhine-Westphalia Victim Protection Foundation strives to deliver.
We also understand: money cannot undo the deed as such. But without compensation, the victims experience yet another injustice on their road to recovery.
Here, you can find out how to apply to us, but also where to find additional help. If you have any further questions, or would like to support the foundation, please feel free to contact us.
The foundation was established by resolution of the state parliament (Landtag) of North Rhine-Westphalia. The entity deemed legally responsible for The North Rhine-Westphalia Victim Protection Foundation is the Ministry of Labour, Health and Social Affairs of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia.
The foundation helps people in North Rhine-Westphalia who have fallen victim to an act of violence, as well as their relatives and loved ones. In principle, the act must have occurred after the cut-off date of 23 February 2022, i.e. after the establishment of the foundation. Exceptions are possible in individual cases, and will be examined individually: e.g. if an act of violence occurred before 23 February 2022 or outside North Rhine-Westphalia.
The foundation provides financial support to victims of violence, as well as their relatives – usually through a one-time lump sum payment of up to EUR 10,000 and, in acute cases, up to an additional EUR 1,000 in emergency aid.
It comes into effect in those cases where the people concerned cannot cope with an acute financial emergency without help. However, it also plays a key role when no compensation can be expected from the perpetrators of the crime, or the claims cannot be settled via the Victims’ Compensation Act (Opferentschädigungsgesetz). The foundation offers those affected the chance to make a new start on their own.
The foundation supports people who have fallen into financial hardship as victims of an act of violence, their families or close relatives. If the act of violence was directed against a third party or the injured party acted in lawful defence against an assault, benefits are not excluded.
Violence takes many forms. For example, it includes all kinds of physical attacks and assaults, robbery, extortion and sexual assault. It also includes severe psychological coercion resulting from stalking, bullying or other acts that are not physical in nature yet have physical or psychological impacts (e.g. anxiety disorders). The same applies to other targeted attacks on personal freedom, such as human trafficking, forced prostitution or false imprisonment.
That depends: essentially, we help when other help is not available. This means, for example, that compensation claims against the perpetrator or against third parties must be appropriately taken into account, as well as the perpetrator’s own assets or claims, for example, under the Victims Compensation Act (Opferentschädigungsgesetz). Exceptions are, nevertheless, possible, especially in the case of emergency aid and in the case of grants in recognition of injustice suffered. Information can be obtained, for example, from the foundation’s application hotline.
And, by the way: members of the foundation council evaluate applications for support – based on the corresponding specifications of the foundation’s statutes and its support guidelines – individually, and on a case-by-case basis.
No, only natural persons can receive donations from the foundation.
If you would like to apply for financial assistance from the foundation, please fill out our application form. If you are unsure as to whether the requirements for foundation support are met in your specific case, you can find more information in our guidelines. The experienced team members operating our telephone hotline, as well as the employees of the branch office, will also be happy to help you clarify this key question.
Please send the completed form by e-mail or post to our office.
The foundation would like to decide on the applications as quickly and as possible, and with minimal bureaucracy. This task is the responsibility of the foundation committee. Only after the latter has determined the respective amount of assistance and approved it, can the funds be disbursed. For emergency aid, our goal is to transfer the approved aid about a week after an application is received. One of the prerequisites for this is that your application contains all the information necessary for a decision.
If we have to obtain information, e.g. from the police, courts or other agencies, it may take several weeks before a decision can be made on your application. For this, we kindly ask for your patience.
I have more questions – who can provide me with information?
You can reach our telephone hotline Monday to Friday from 08:00 to 18:00 on (0211) 837 19 77.
Or you can contact the staff at our office in Düsseldorf:
Stiftung Opferschutz Nordrhein-Westfalen
You can find our contact form here.
You can file a report online here: Police Internet Watch
To online submission portal
Counselling for victims of violence:
The portal www.opferschutzportal.nrw offered by the state government of North Rhine-Westphalia provides help quickly to victims of violence, their relatives and all interested parties, bundles all supported services of the state of North Rhine-Westphalia on one page, and makes targeted offers of help and support available to those who need it.
Commissioner for Victim Protection of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia:
Contact: Office of the Commissioner for Victim Protection of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia
Phone: +49 (0)221 39909964