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Terror victims in Germany to receive better compensation

November 8, 2019

After criticism that the victims of the 2016 Berlin terrorist attack were left behind, Germany has passed new laws on damages. Victims will be more speedily and more generously compensated.

A woman attends to a memorial for the victims of the 2016 Berlin terror attack
Image: picture alliance/dpa/C. Koall

Future victims of terrorist attacks in Germany will get better and speedier compensated after a new law was passed in the Bundestag on Thursday evening.

The modernizing move came after criticism of the treatment received by the victims of the 2016 Berlin terror attack and their surviving dependents.

The law passed by Labor Minister Hubertus Heil provides for higher cash benefits for surviving dependants and injured parties. Access to vocational reintegration measures and assistance in everyday life will also be improved. Trauma outpatient clinics, which provide fast and targeted care for victims, will be available nationwide in future.

Read more: Terrorism insurance  Doing business with fear in Germany

Victims will also be assigned case managers during the application process for compensation and in the proceeding events.

The new law also opens the possibility of such compensation for the victims of psychological violence such as stalking or passive violence such as the neglect of a child. Victims of human trafficking and sexual violence will also be covered.

Widows, widowers and orphans will also rise and witnesses who were psychologically affected by an attack will be eligible for compensation.

Most regulations will not take effect until 2024, while some improvements will be applied retroactively, including equal treatment for foreign nationals.

Only the right-wing populist AfD party opposed the measures. The laws still need the approval of the Bundesrat, the upper house of Parliament.

The current law dates from 1985 and based on compensation of war victims. The central idea of the reform of victim compensation is that the state has a responsibility to protect its citizens from acts of violence and damage caused by criminal acts.

aw/rt (epd, KNA, dpa)

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