Financial assistance

Victims of sexual violence in childhood and adolescence can apply for financial assistance. Find out what benefits are available and what to do to get them.

What should you know before you apply?

The financial assistance cannot undo the suffering of those who experienced sexual abuse. In order to better cope with its consequences, many victims and survivors need psychological and medical support over a long period of time.

The financial assistance listed here can go some way towards helping to cover these costs and returning to a better life. However, obtaining such financial assistance can take a lot of time and energy. Many judicial and administrative requirements must be met to be awarded compensation. You should be prepared for that and also get support. If you decide to apply for financial assistance, we recommend that you seek advice from the relevant specialised advice and counselling centres. You can find a selection of advice and counseling centres here.

What are you entitled to under the victim compensation law?

People who suffered sexual abuse in their childhood or youth may be entitled to compensation under certain conditions. This is governed by the Victim Compensation Act (OEG).

You are entitled to state benefits under the OEG if your health has been impaired and you incur costs as a result, for example, for therapies, travel to attend medical appointments or for aids. The state benefits you are entitled to are regulated by law and depend largely on how severe and long-term your health problems are. Possible benefits include:

  • Remedial and medical treatments – including psychotherapy;
  • Pension benefits, depending on the severity of the impact on your health and on your income;
  • Welfare benefits, for example, for participation in working life, care, upkeep of the household and benefits to help with living expenses;
  • Rehabilitation programmes, such as stays at a health resort.

You must apply for such benefits. An advice and counseling centre can help you with this.  Lawyers can also offer support. The application process can take a long time and can be stressful. You can find out more about benefits, requirements and how to apply for them on the website of the Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs.

    When are you entitled to reduced earning capacity pension ("Erwerbsminderungsrente")?

    In addition to the entitlement to pension benefits under the victim compensation law, as a victim and survivor of sexual violence in childhood and adolescence you may also be entitled to a reduced earning capacity pension.

    This may be the case if you have health problems and are therefore no longer able to support yourself through gainful employment. This also includes health impairments that are the result of having suffered violent acts such as sexual abuse. Whether an insured person is entitled to a reduced earning capacity pension depends on the extent to which the insured person's capacity to work is impaired. Once a person has reached retirement age, the reduced earning capacity pension is replaced by the normal pension.

    Good to know: The reduced earning capacity pension / normal old-age pension and the entitlement to compensatory benefits ("Beschädigtenrente") under the OEG are not mutually exclusive. However, the pension from the statutory pension insurance counts as income when working out how much compensatory benefit you are entitled to.

    This is what you can do

    You have to apply for the reduced earning capacity pension. It is advisable to seek advice beforehand. Such advice is offered by advice and counselling centres and lawyers. The German pension insurance ("Deutsche Rentenversicherung") also offers advice on its website. You can also download the application forms from pension insurance website. An online brochure of the Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs offers information about the reduced earning capacity pension.

    When does statutory accident insurance come into play?

    Statutory accident insurance is designed to protect people from accidents and health hazards at work or in an honorary position.

    If something happens to someone during these activities, the insurance is there to restore the insured person's health and ability to work. Accident insurance also protects children and adolescents in nurseries, kindergartens, day care centres or schools. This includes the prevention of sexual violence in these institutions, for example, by providing the staff with the necessary training. If an assault does occur, the victim is entitled to compensation.

    The management of the facility in question reports such an incident to the statutory accident insurance. As soon as the statutory accident insurance has been informed, it takes official action. This means that, as a rule, the victim does not have to submit a separate application. The benefits of statutory accident insurance include:

    • Medical care; 
    • Professional and social participation (such as housing benefit, household help, childcare costs); 
    • Cash benefits and other compensation; 
    • Care. 

    Would you like to know what you are eligible for? You can also contact statutory accident insurance here.

    How does the Additional Help System (EHS) help?

    The EHS is made up of the sexual abuse fund (FSM) and the Additional Help System in the institutional sector.

    Sexual abuse fund (FSM)

    The sexual abuse fund (FSM) aims to help victims and survivors who were sexually abused as children or adolescents within the family. This includes assaults by family members and people in their immediate social environment, such as the mother's partner or a babysitter from the neighbourhood.

    The fund is available on application if there is no entitlement to benefits from the existing assistance system, if these benefits have already been exhausted, are not sufficient or have been refused. Statutory and private health or accident insurance companies are examples of the existing assistance system.

    The relevant notice of rejection must be included with the application. The fund is also available if, for example, applying for compensation under the OEG is too stressful for the person concerned.

    Get the information you need!

    You can find out more about the sexual abuse fund (FSM) here. You can call the FSM free of charge on 0800 400 10 50 to find out more.

    What services does the fund support?

    The fund can offer up to 10,000 euros worth of services per person. An additional 5,000 euros is available for expenses incurred due to disability, such as for an accompanying person. This sum can be used for the following:

    Psychotherapy
    • Psychotherapy once the health insurance no longer pays for it
    • Advance or bridge financing at the beginning of psychotherapy
    • Types of psychotherapy not covered by the health insurance
    Recognised specialist therapies and one-on-one counselling
    • Cost coverage for recognised specialist therapies such as movement, music, ergo, art and animal therapies, and for one-on-one trauma counselling, including travel expenses to the therapy sessions or attending self-help services
    Remedies and aids
    • Cost coverage for medical services such as physiotherapy, ergotherapy, baths, massages, speech therapy and for medical devices such as wheelchairs, prostheses and hearing aids provided the costs are not covered by the health insurance
    Dealing with public authorities or the courts
    • Cost coverage for accompanying persons or individual support provided that the costs are not covered by other bodies
    Training and qualifications
    • Cost coverage for school-leaving qualifications, training courses or degree courses as well as retraining
    Travelling to advice and counselling centres
    • Cost coverage for travel to advice and counselling centres, including for an accompanying person, where required. Travel expenses up to a total of 10,000 euros, or 15,000 euros if additional disability-related expenses are incurred, are covered.
    Improvement of mobility or housing situation
    • Assistance to improve a mobility or housing situation in addition to the regular benefits for special hardship cases

    Additional Help System (EHS) in the institutional sector

    People who suffered sexual violence in an institution during their childhood and youth can also apply for assistance in certain cases. If the institution in question is a member of the Additional Help System (EHS), the application can be made via the sexual abuse fund (FSM). The fund then forwards the application to the institution concerned. On the sexual abuse fund (FSM) website you will find more information about how to apply, application deadlines, an up-to-date overview of the participating institutions as well as further information on the Additional Help System (EHS) and the sexual abuse fund (FSM).

    What compensation does the church provide?

    The Protestant and Catholic churches have different compensation systems.

    Catholic Church

    The Catholic Church has agreed on a procedure for the "recognition of suffering" for victims of sexual violence in the context of the Catholic Church. The payments as part of this procedure range from 1,000 to 50,000 euros and are not paid out for any specific purpose. The Catholic Church also covers therapy and couples counselling costs. The compensation payments are also paid out for statute-barred offences. Would you like to find out more or submit an application? You can find information and the application form of the Catholic Church here. The Catholic Church also participates in the supplementary assistance system (EHS) via the German Bishops' Conference.

    Protestant Church

    The Protestant Church participates in the supplementary assistance system (EHS). In addition, independent commissions ("Unabhängige Kommissionen") were set up by the individual regional churches. They decide on whether financial assistance will be provided on a case-by-case basis, such as for therapy or recognition benefits ("Anerkennungsleistungen"). The various regional churches each have their own specific procedures. For more information, please get in touch with the central "help" point of contact.

    What support is available in the federal states?

    In vielen Bundesländern können Betroffene von Straftaten finanzielle Unterstützung von Stiftungen oder Einrichtungen der Opferhilfe erhalten.

    In many federal states, victims of crime can receive financial support from foundations or victim assistance institutions. You can find a selection of such services in the "Finding help“ section.  

    Weiterführende Informationen

    Klicken Sie hier für weitere Informations-Angebote.

    Stories that inspire courage

    Interview | Victims and survivors

    Being sexually abused by a woman was extremely damaging to my masculinity. I felt very conflicted for many years. It was really tough for me. It took me a long time to reconcile these two sides.

    Nicolas Haaf

    Member of the Council of Victims and Survivors

    To the interview
    [Translate to Englisch:] Porträtfoto Nicolas Haaf
    Interview | Counselling

    Such a sensitive and personal topic always needs courage. But I do believe that making a call helps. It is a first step, a first "mustering up the courage". And that alone often makes all subsequent steps much easier.

    Tanja von Bodelschwingh

    Counsellor at the Sexual Abuse Help Line

    To the interview
    [Translate to Englisch:] Porträtfoto Tanja von Bodelschwingh
    Interview | Dealing with Child Sexual Abuse

    We want to learn from these stories. That is the central element of coming to terms with what happened: Looking back should form the basis of learning for the sake of today and for the future.

    Barbara Kavemann

    Member of the Independent Commission for Dealing with Child Sexual Abuse

    To the interview
    [Translate to Englisch:] Porträtfoto Barbara Kavemann
    Interview | Self-help

    In our self-help group, men can show their weaknesses and are not laughed at, but are respected. That alone is an experience: I don't have to play the tough guy, I can be seen to be vulnerable.

    Max Ciolek

    Member of the Council of Victims and Survivors

    To the interview
    [Translate to Englisch:] Porträtfoto Max Ciolek
    Interview | Law

    The developments I observe in many of the victims and survivors are very encouraging and motivating. Often they can find their old self again during this long process.

    Petra Ladenburger
    Lawyer

    To the interview
    [Translate to Englisch:] Porträtfoto Petra Ladenburger
    Interview | People with disabilities

    In acute crisis situations in particular, it greatly helps to seek advice from outside and not just stay in your own circle. We look at everything from an independent viewpoint and can help people view the situation neutrally.

    Pia Witthöft

    Head of the "Mutstelle" Counselling Centre

    To the interview
    [Translate to Englisch:] Porträtfoto Pia Witthöft

    Sexual Abuse – we support you if you are looking for help and information.

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    Give us a call – even if you're unsure

    Talk to the advisors of the Sexual Abuse Help Line. Your call is anonymous and free of charge.

    0800 22 55 530

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    Send us a message

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    The Sexual Abuse Help Line also offers advice by email. By registering, the advice service remains confidential.