Rights of victims under the CVAFCA

INFORMATION OF VICTIMS ABOUT THEIR RIGHTS UNDER THE CRIME VICTIM ASSISTANCE AND FINANCIAL COMPENSATION ACT

If you are a crime victim, The bodies of the Ministry of Interior, investigators and victim support organisations shall immediately inform you of:

  • Your rights to access to medical care, the organisations to which you can refer for free psychological help and support, as well as of any kind of specialised help you are entitled to receive;
  • Your right to legal aid, the services to which you can turn in order to exercise that right, and the terms and procedures for obtaining legal aid free of charge;
  • The services to which a crime can be reported, the procedures following such a report, and the types of action which you can take under the applicable terms and procedures;
  • The bodies to which a signal of infringement of your rights by the competent authority acting in the criminal proceedings may be sent;
  • Your rights in the criminal process and the options for their participation in it;
  • The services to which you can turn for protection for themselves and your relatives, and the terms and procedures for obtaining such protection;
  • The services to which you can turn for financial compensation from the State, and the terms and procedures for obtaining such compensation;
  • Possible ways of protecting your rights and interests if you are foreign national and you are victim of crime in the Republic of Bulgaria;
  • Possible ways of protecting your rights and interests if you are victim of crime in another country, and the services to which you can turn in such cases.

The monitoring prosecutor in the course of the pre-trial proceedings shall monitor performance of the duties of investigating authorities for provision of the information of your rights.

 Upon notification of your rights, the competent authorities shall take into account your condition and your age. Upon notification of your rights, the competent authorities shall take into account your condition and your age. Notification shall be made orally and in writing by means of a form according to a standard form in a language that you understand. A protocol shall be drawn up for the notification, in duplicate, which shall be registered in line with the procedure established by the relevant body or organisation. One copy of the protocol and the form shall be served on you.

FINANCIAL COMPENSATION

Financial compensation under the Crime Victim Assistance and Financial Compensation Act (CVAFCA) shall be provided for the crimes indicated in Art. 3, Para. 3 of the Act: 

1. terrorism; intentional murder; attempted murder; intentional grievous bodily harm; sexual abuse; rape; trafficking in people;

2. a crime committed by order or under a decision of an organized criminal group;

3. or another serious premeditated crime resulting in death or grievous bodily harm, as consequences of offence defined by statute.

Victims who have suffered property damages may receive financial compensation under the conditions and in accordance with the procedure established by the Crime Victim Assistance and Financial Compensation Act. Where a victim has died as a result of a crime, the victim's rights to financial compensation shall be transferred to the victim's heirs or the person with whom the victim has been in actual cohabitation.

The crime victims shall acquire their right to seek financial compensation under the Crime Victim Assistance and Financial Compensation Act after the completion of the criminal proceedings with an effective instrument of the authorities of the judiciary:

1. a guilty verdict, including in cases tried in the defendant's absence;

2. the agreement on settling the case in pre-trial proceedings;

3. a prosecutorial or court instrument by which criminal proceedings are discontinued, except in cases where the discontinuation is in pursuance of Article 24, Paragraph 1, Items 1, 7, 8a and 9 of the Criminal Procedure Code;

4. a prosecutorial or court instrument by which criminal proceedings are dismissed on the grounds of failure to identify the perpetrator of the crime.

IMPORTANT! The application for financial compensation shall be submitted to the National Council within one year of the entry into force of the relevant instrument of the authorities of the judiciary. The application may also be submitted through a victim support organisation or through the regional governor at the current address of the victim. The application for financial compensation shall be considered within one month of the date of receipt thereof. If necessary, this period may be extended up to three months.

A model form of the application for financial compensation shall be presented to the victims by the National Council, the Regional Governors, the authorities of the Ministry of Interior, investigators and victim support organisations.

You may find the ratified by Order No ЛС-04-308/16.04.2007 of the Minister of Justice model form of an application for financial compensation and a list with the needed documents for the consideration of the application in Section „Documents“.

The financial compensation shall cover the provision of an amount by the State at the maximum level for all eligible persons not exceeding BGN 10 000. Where the financial compensation is granted for the maintenance of persons under the age of 18, who are the heirs of a deceased person, the amount per person shall not exceed BGN 10 000.

Financial compensation shall cover, jointly or separately, pecuniary damages directly caused by a crime and consisting in:

1. medical expenses, except for expenses covered by the budget of the National Health Insurance Fund;

2. lost income;

3. legal fees and litigation costs;

4. lost support to dependents;

5. funeral expenses;

6. other pecuniary damages.

All the property damages are proven by the victims by means of cost supporting documents!

GRATUITOUS PSYCHOLOGICAL CONSULTATION AND AID

The crime victims may receive gratuitous psychological consultation and aid, which are provided by specialists – psychologists from the organizations for support of crime victims in accordance with the needs of the victim and his/her psychological condition.

            The application for provision of gratuitous psychological aid shall be filed to the organization for support of victims selected by the victim. The application should contain: the full name of the victim, his/her citizenship, date and place of birth, permanent and present address; date, place and circumstances of the commitment of the crime; the date on which the victim notified the competent authorities about the crime committed and the grounds of the applicant who filed the application for seeking psychological aid. Copies of the documents which certify the data indicated in it shall be attached to the application.

            For more information turn to the Bulgarian Association of the Organizations for Support of Victims. Visit Section „Contacts“.

GRATUITOUS LEGAL AID

The gratuitous legal aid shall be provided in accordance with the procedure established by and the conditions of the Legal Aid Act.

HOW TO OBTAIN LEGAL AID

1. Who is entitled to legal aid?

  • Underprivileged natural persons
  • Persons accommodated in specialized institutions for the provision of social services – homes for the elderly, centers for rehabilitation and social integration of people with disorders, centers for temporary accommodation of homeless people and so on.
  • A foster family or a family of relatives and close friends which a child is placed with in accordance with the procedure established by the Child Protection Act

2. The following are not entitled to legal aid – sole proprietors; legal entities – trade companies, cooperative societies and so on.

3. Kinds of cases which legal aid is provided under:

  • Criminal cases
  • Civil cases – property disputes – disputes for ownership, for partition, leases, disputes for monetary amounts due, labor disputes, matrimonial cases, payment of maintenance, provision of parental rights, adoption, establishment of an origin of a child and so on.
  • Administrative cases

4. Kinds of legal aid:

  • Consultation for the attainment of an agreement prior to bringing the suit or for bringing a suit
  • Preparation of documents for bringing a suit
  • Procedural representatiin /defense by a lawyer/ under a case already initiated in court
  • Representation /defense of a lawyer/ at detention by the authorities of the Ministry of Interior

5. Documents for provision of legal aid:

  • An application-declaration for legal aid and an application for legal aid to the court under a case initiated – in conformity with a model form, you may download it from the Internet site of the National Legal Aid Bureau, obtain from the bar association with regard to your place of residence as well as download from Section „Documents“
  • An application-declaration for family and property status of the applicant – you may download it from the Internet site of the National Legal Aid Bureau, obtain from the bar association with regard to your place of residence as well as download from Section „Documents“
  • An order of the Director of the Social Assistance Directorate that you receive monthly social benefits pursuant to Art. 9 of the Implementing Regulations of the Social Assistance Act /turn to the Social Assistance Directorate with regard to your permanent address/.
  • A certificate that you satisfy the conditions for the receipt of monthly social benefits pursuant to Art. 9 of the Implementing Regulations of the Social Assistance Act /turn to the Social Assistance Directorate with regard to your permanent address/.
  • A Contract with a specialized institution for obtaining social services – a Contract with a home for the elderly, a contract for use of social services, with the centers for rehabilitation and social integration of people with disorders, with the centers for temporary accommodation of homeless people and so on
  • A court decision for the placement of a child under the Child Protection Act

6. Whom must we file an application for legal aid to:

  • To the National Legal Aid Bureau – for consultation and preparation of documents for initiation of a case with an attachment further to the family and property status declaration also one of the documents pursuant to item “c”, “d” or “e”.
  • To the Court – with the availability of an already initiated case, with an attachment further to the family and property status declaration also of documents certifying the family status, age, labor employment – a certificate from the Job Offices, the health status – a decision of the Labor Expert Medical Doctor’s Commission, an order of the Social Assistance Directorate for the receipt of allowances for social integration under the Integration of People with Disorders Act, a certificate from the Social Security Institute about the amount of the pension and so on. You should prove by documents that you do not have sufficient financial funds to authorize a lawyer.

7. How to choose a lawyer?

  • From the National Legal Aid Register through the Internet site of the National Legal Aid Bureau – a list of the lawyers per bar associations providing legal aid
  • Access to the list of the lawyers providing legal aid, which is published in a prominent place in the relevant bar association. At the choice of a lawyer you may rely on the relevant bar association which will orientate you and will define a lawyer appropriate for your problem

8. What do you expect from the defense counsel appointed for you?

  • To explain to you what your situation at the moment is
  • To indicate to you what your rights are
  • To judge whether there is legal interest for the initiation of the case, whether your claim is admissible and well-grounded and whether the legal terms are observed
  • What other possibilities for defense you have
  • To present to you a list of documents needed for the initiation of the relevant case
  • To explain to you what fees and expenditures you owe under the case
  • Is there possibility for you to be exempt from the payment of fees and expenditures under the case
  • What are the probable consequences from the trial, i.e. how it could be developed
  • Are there any grounds for the appeal of the decision, the sentence or another judicial instrument

9. What do you owe for the legal aid you are provided with?

Prior to and during the case you do not owe any payment to the defense lawyer. If you are convicted or lose in full or partially the case, you will have to pay to the National Legal Aid Bureau the expenditures for the remuneration of the lawyer who has defended you. The legal aid does not comprise the payment of fees and expenditures for expert examinations and court experts under the proceedings unless you were exempt for payment by the court for being underprivileged.

10. Other particularities at the provision of legal aid:

  • There are no lawyers who provide legal consultations to citizens in the National Legal Aid Bureau;
  • The employees of the National Legal Aid Bureau may direct you about the documents you need for the provision of legal aid, where you may get supplied with these documents from, whom you may file your application for legal aid to depending on the case.
  • You may also obtain information about the provision of gratuitous legal aid from the bar association within your region.

For more information you may turn to the National Legal Aid Bureau. Visit Section „Contacts“.

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