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BBC News | Lords Business (onclick) | Petitions
Lord Brennan’s “Victim’s Of Of Overseas Terorism Bill”
It now seems that the only way forward is through the enactment of Lord Brennan’s “Victims Of Overseas Terrorism Bill”. This Bill would not have been produced if it were not for the Sham el-Sheik bombings on the 23rd July 2005 when 11 British tourists died. It was the legal representations of those victims who approached Lord Brennan.

This important Bill received its second reading on Friday 20th April 2007. The full text of that hearing can be viewed here. It was successfully committed to a Committee of the Whole House.

Here is a list of the compensation levels given by other Non UK countries.

30th April 2007
Paul Lawrenson has also created a UK government petition to provide compensation similar to that of other countries.
25th May 2007
The BIll was unopposed, which means that it will skip the usual Report Stage. The Bill will now have its Third Reading in the afternoon of Monday 4 June 2007, at which point it will finish its passage through the Lords.
10th August 2007
The Bill, although was successful  in raising awareness of this important issue, did not receive the required support of a government minister and therefore has automatically “died”  over the summer recess.
However, meetings are to take place between certain departments and groups to find a suitable way forward. This is mainly in acknowledgment  that the Bill was broadly accepted  but fundamentally lacks financial support.
8th October 2007

Details of seven national schemes and assistance packages offering financial assistance to victims of terrorist attacks abroad.   



1.1 When was the scheme set up?

General schemes for the compensation of victims of crime are run by individual states rather than the Australian national government.   As a rule, these schemes do not cover criminal acts outside the country.  (South Australia is an exception.)   

Nevertheless, the Australian national government has put together individual 'packages of assistance' in response to specific terrorist (and other) incidents abroad, such as the 2002 and 2005 Bali bombings and the 2004 Asian Tsunami.  The information given below relates to 'Bali 2005 Special Assistance', the package whereby the national government pays for Australians' (and others') out-of-pocket healthcare costs incurred as a direct result of the Bali bombings on 1 October 2005.

1.2 Who runs the scheme?

Medicare   -  the Australian government agency for health payments and information.

1.3 How is the scheme funded?

The package is funded by the national government.

1.4 Who can claim?

Australians and eligible foreign nationals who were physically injured by the explosions receive the most generous assistance.   A lower level of assistance is offered to certain family members (see below).   

1.5 What terrorist acts are covered?

The bombings in Bali on 1 October 2005.

1.6 Procedure

A Medicare Registration Form and a Bali 2005 Special Assistance Claim Form have to be completed and submitted, together with supporting documentation, to Medicare Australia Special Assistance or a local Medicare office.

Money is not paid to the claimant, but instead directly to the provider of the health care.

Time limit for making a claim: It appears that, because of the way in which the assistance is given, there is no formal time limit for submitting a claim.

1.7 What injuries are covered / compensation provided?

The government pays for 'out of pocket costs', i.e. those costs which are not covered by Medicare, by other government programmes, or by private travel or health insurance.

Two levels of assistance are offered:

(a) Australians and eligible foreign nationals physically injured by the explosions in Bali receive assistance with a wide range of health care including medical 'gaps' (the difference between the actual cost of health care and the sum normally covered by Medicare) and the cost of medicines, physiotherapy, hearing devices, artificial limbs, psychological services and counseling.

(b) Immediate family members of:

(i) Australian residents who died, were physically injured, or were seriously psychologically injured as a result of the bombings, and  

(ii) immediate family members of non-Australians who died as a result of the bombings

 receive assistance with the costs of counselling, psychological, psychiatric services and pharmaceuticals where prescribed by a psychiatrist.  

 In each case, assistance is only provided in relation to health care provided in Australia.



2.1 When was the scheme set up?

There is no special scheme covering terrorist acts as such, since the general criminal injury compensation scheme covers most crimes committed abroad as well as in Finland, subject to certain conditions (see below).   

Crimes committed on or after 1 January 2006 are governed by a new statute, the Act on Compensation for Crime Victims, which renews the general scheme with certain modifications.  (Its main purpose was to implement Directive 2004/80/EC.)  

2.2 Who runs the scheme?

 The scheme is run by the Finnish State Treasury.

2.3 How is the scheme funded?

The scheme is funded by the Finnish state.

2.4 Who can claim?

Claims for compensation from the Finnish state in respect of terrorist acts or any other crimes outside Finland can only be made by a resident of Finland who is abroad for work, study or similar purposes, or if there is some other close connection between the crime and Finland. The claimant does not have to be a Finnish national.

Claims may also be made by dependents in these circumstances.  But again, the dependent must be a resident of Finland at the time the crime is committed.

2.5 What terrorist acts are covered?

In general, all criminal acts are covered by the scheme, other than traffic accidents.

2.6 Procedure

Applications are made to the Finnish State Treasury, either directly (in hard copy or online) or through a local office of the Social Insurance Institution.   Within Finland, application forms are available from the State Treasury, the police, or local offices of the Social Insurance Institution.  Outside the country forms may be obtained from Finnish embassies and consulates.   

 Time limit for making a claim:  10 years if the perpetrator has not been caught.  Otherwise 3 years from the final court decision.

2.7 What injuries are covered / compensation provided?

Where the crime occurred outside Finland, the basic rule is that compensation from the Finnish state is awarded only in respect of personal injury.  This covers among other things remibursement for medical costs, lost earnings, damages to spectacles and clothes, etc, as well as compensation for pain and suffering.

Adjustments may be made to the sum awarded if the victim himself (or some outside circumstance) contributed to his injury.   In addition, deductions are made to the extent that the victim can obtain compensation for the same injury or losses under other statutes and/or insurance.



3.1 When was the scheme set up?

 The scheme for the compensation of victims of acts of terrorism has its origins in the law of 9 September 1986 (86-1020), passed after France became the target of a series of terrorist attacks.  It is also based on the law of 23 January 1990 which granted victims of acts of terrorism the status of civilian war victims. The resulting rights and advantages are granted by the Ministry for Veterans and War Victims.

3.2 Who runs the scheme?

The scheme is operated by a Guarantee Fund for the Victims of Acts of Terrorism and other Offences (Fonds de Garantie des Victimes des Actes de Terrorisme et d’autres Infractions, or 'FGTI'), which was established by the law of 6 July 1990.   FGTI is in turn managed by the Guarantee Fund of Compulsory Damage Insurance (Fonds de Garantie des assurances dommages obligatoires).

As its name suggests, FGTI is in fact responsible for operating two distinct schemes: one for the compensation of victims of acts of terrorism, and another for the compensation of victims of other offences.  (The latter is older, having its legal basis ultimately in the law of 3 January 1977.  Unlike the scheme which compensates victims of terrorism, it is judicial in nature, FGTI paying awards fixed by the Compensation Commission for Victims of Offences (Commission d'indemnisation des victimes d'infractions) which is part of each County Court.)

3.3 How is the scheme funded?

FGTI is financed by a levy on property insurance contracts (€3.30 Euros per contract in 2004).   The proceeds of this levy are supplemented by monies recovered by FGTI from offenders.

3.4 Who can claim?

FGTI compensates all victims, irrespective of their nationality, for acts of terrorism committed in France.   It also compensates French nationals who are victims of terrorist acts committed abroad.

In the case of fatal injuries, claims may be made by the deceased's legal beneficiaries.

3.5 What terrorist acts are covered?

To be covered by the scheme, an act of terrorism must:

(a) be an offence involving an individual or collective enterprise,

(b) aim seriously to disrupt law and order by intimidation or terror, and

(c) have been committed on or after 1 January 1985

3.6 Procedure

The general procedure is for the Public Prosecutor or the diplomatic or consular authority abroad to inform FGTI of a terrorist attack and to provide them with the names of any known victims.  FGTI then contacts the victims to arrange compensation.  However, anyone who considers himself to have been the victim of an act of terrorism can take the initiative and submit a claim for compensation directly to FGTI.

Time limit for making a claim: victims or their beneficiaries have ten years from the date of a terrorist act to submit a claim with FGTI.

3.7 What injuries are covered / compensation provided?

Compensation for physical injuries (fatal or otherwise) is intended to be 'total'  -   that is to say, to provide full compensation for physical injury or, in the case of death, for moral and economic damage caused to the beneficiaries of the deceased.    Victims may also claim for damage to clothing.   Otherwise damage to property is expected to be covered by a victim's insurance policy.

 Awards take into account state benefits and sums paid in respect of the injury by other public and private organisations.  



4.1 When was the scheme set up?

Since its emergence at the end of the 1940s, Israel has always provided some degree of financial support to civilians injured in hostilities.  Support was initially offered only to inhabitants of border areas, but was later extended to all its citizens (and some foreigners), in particular following the Six Day War in 1967 which saw terrorist acts spread to cities in the heart of Israel.  The Compensation for Victims of Hostile Acts Law, passed at this time (1970), remains central to the law governing this area.


4.2 Who runs the scheme?

Compensation payments are made by the National Insurance Institute ('NII'), which was set up in 1953 as the main pillar of the country’s social security system.  


4.3 How is the scheme funded?

NII is financed primarily by universal insurance contributions, although it also receives money from central government and interest on investments of surpluses in government bonds.


4.4 Who can claim?

A citizen or resident of Israel who was injured during hostilities in Israel or abroad; a person who entered Israel legally and was injured by an act of hostility in Israel; and a foreign resident who was injured by an act of hostility abroad during and as a result of his/her employment by an Israeli employer (approved for this matter).

Dependents of the above may also claim.

4.5 What terrorist acts are covered?

Because of the history of this legislation and the fact that the terrorist threat in Israel comes mainly from its neighbours, no formal distinction is made between an act of terrorism as such and a 'hostile act'.   Whether an incident falls into this category is ultimately determined by the relevant authority appointed by the Israeli Ministry of Defence.  The appointed authority follows criteria set out in the Compensation for Victims of Hostile Acts Law.

4.6 Procedure

Victims must file an application with NII's Department for Victims of Hostilities. In practice, those hospitalized receive and complete forms with assistance from the hospital social worker.

Citizens of foreign countries should submit the application before leaving Israel, although the application may also be processed abroad via the nearest Israeli embassy or consulate.

Time limit for making a claim:  Usually 1 year from the hostile act.  Failure to meet this deadline is not necessarily a bar to a claim, but it does increase the time it takes to be processed and also the likelihood of the claimant receiving less than he would otherwise be awarded.

4.7 What injuries are covered / compensation provided?

Compensation is awarded for injuries sustained as a result of hostile acts by enemy forces or in circumstances where there is a reasonable fear of such hostile acts.  Compensation is also available for injuries caused by weapons intended to be used for hostile acts.

Awards are case-specific.  They comprise (usually monthly) benefits for victims disabled by the hostile act, a rest and recreation allowance, and compensation for (among other things) medical expenses, the cost of rehabilitation, lost wages or support, funeral expenses, and the cost of repatriation (where appropriate).  



5.1 When was the scheme set up?

Italy does not have a scheme compensating victims of crime generally.  However, for several decades it has had schemes covering victims of terrorist acts and organised crime specifically.  The present scheme was set up in 1990, although it has since been modified, most recently in 2004 by the law of 3 August 2004 (no. 206).  It now covers, among other things, terrorist acts outside Italy as well as certain massacres at home and abroad.  

5.2 Who runs the scheme?

The Ministry of Interior processes applications filed by victims or families of victims. (The department responsible is the "Dipartimento per le Libertà Civili e l'Immigrazione, Direzione Generale per i Diritti Civili, la Cittadinanza e le Minoranze, Area I - Speciali elargizioni alle vittime del terorrismo e della criminalità organizzata di tipo mafioso").

5.3 How is the scheme funded?

The scheme is funded by the state.

5.4 Who can claim?

Only Italian nationals may claim in respect of terrorist acts and massacres which take place outside Italy. Claims may be made by victims of any nationality in respect of terrorist acts within the country.

5.5 What terrorist acts are covered?

The latest changes to the scheme are retrospective so that terrorist acts and massacres outside Italy are covered from January 2003, whilst terrorist acts and massacres which occurred within Italy are covered from January 1961.   There is no definition of 'terrorist act' in the 1990 or 2004 legislation.  

5.6 Procedure

Applications are sent to the local "Prefettura" (Prefecture) which then liaises with the relevant department of the Ministry of Interior (see above).   Applications are considered by a medical and compensation committee, although awards are ultimately made by the Ministry.

There are no application forms as such.  Instead, victim support schemes explain to applicants how compensation may be obtained.

Time limit for making a claim:  The law is unclear on this point.  The general rule of Italian procedural law is that actions have to be brought within 10 years (Article 2946 of the Italian Civil Code).  However, the law of 3 August 2004 (no. 206) imposes no time limits on applications for compensation under the scheme, so arguably no time limit applies in this context.  

5.7 What injuries are covered / compensation provided?

Compensation for injuries is provided in the form of a pension, the level of which is calculated according to the percentage of disability suffered.  Above a certain level, or in cases of death, this compensation may be transferred to relatives of the victim.  Relatives also receive a pension in their own right. Victims and victims' relative are entitled to receive a compensation up to 200.000 €, according to the percentage of disability. Both victim and relatives benefit in differing degrees from tax benefits. Medical care for the victim (including psychotherapy) is available free of charge. Legal assistance for civil and criminal proceedings is also available at the State's charge.



6.1 When was the scheme set up?

There is no special scheme covering terrorist acts as such, since the general criminal injury compensation scheme covers crimes committed abroad as well as in Sweden (see below).

6.2 Who runs the scheme?

The Swedish criminal injury compensation scheme is administered by the Crime Victim Compensation and Support Authority (Brottsoffermyndigheten), which was established in 1994.

6.3 How is the scheme funded?

Not known.

6.4 Who can claim?

Anyone who lives in Sweden and is injured (mentally or physically) or 'violations of personal integrity' abroad as the result of a criminal act may make a claim.  'Violation' in this sense means not just rape, but also e.g. attempted murder, robbery and other sexual offences.

Dependents of an individual killed in a terrorist attack may claim compensation if they were legally entitled to (and receiving or about to receive) maintenance from the deceased at the time of his death, or were dependent on him in some other way.


6.5 What terrorist acts are covered?

Since the scheme covers all crime outside Sweden, there is no requirement to classify it as a terrorist act.  

6.6 Procedure

The general rule is that a claim for compensation cannot be made unless the crime has been reported to the police.  After this a decision is made as to whether or not a preliminary investigation should be initiated.   

Claims are made by applying to the Crime Victim Compensation and Support Authority.  

Time limit for making a claim: Generally an application has to be made within two years of the crime being committed.

6.7 What injuries are covered / compensation provided?

Compensation is calculated according to the Law of Damages (1972:207) and is available for personal injury (mental or physical) and for 'violations of personal integrity' (see above).   In the case of personal injury, compensation may extend to damage to clothing, spectacles and other items which the victim was wearing when the injury occurred.

Compensation for material damage and pure economic loss is awarded only in limited circumstances, for example where the crime was committed by an inmate of a prison establishment, if the victim's ability to support himself has been seriously compromised, or where the circumstances of the case are particularly distressing.

Awards are reduced to take account of contributory negligence and/or sums received under insurance policies (and even, in the case of compensation for material loss, sums that would have been received had the victim insured his property in the usual way.)


7. USA

7.1 When was the scheme set up?

 In response to the growing threat of terrorism to US citizens at home and abroad, the US Congress amended the Victims of Crime Act 1984 in 2000 (42 U.S.C. paras 10601 and 10603c) so as to authorise an International Terrorism Victims Program  -  now known as the International Terrorism Victim Reimbursement Program ('ITVERP').    This will allow victims of acts of international terrorism that occur outside the USA to be reimbursed for "expenses associated with that victimization".  Note that unlike, for example, the September 11 Victim Compensation Fund, ITVERP will not offer 'compensation' for injury or death as such.  Its concern is simply to ensure that victims of international terrorism are not left out of pocket after paying for medical and travel expenses, etc.

 The regulations which are to govern ITVERP have not yet been finalised.  The information given below is therefore based partly on a draft of the regulations published in the US Federal Register in August 2005 (Vol. 70 No. 163) and partly on the relevant provisions of Victims of Crime Act 1984, as amended.

7.2 Who runs the scheme?

ITVERP will be administered by the Office for the Victims of Crime ('OVC'), which is part of the US Department of Justice's Office of Justice Programs.

7.3 How is the scheme funded?

ITVERP is financed by the OVC's Crime Victims Fund ('the Fund'), which draws on criminal fines, penalties, forfeited bail bonds and special assessments imposed on convicted federal defendants collected by US Attorneys' Offices, federal US courts, and the Federal Bureau of Prisons.  Since 2002, the Fund has also been authorised to accept gifts, bequests and donations from private entities.  In general, it receives no money from the US taxpayer, although as a special measure tax dollars were transferred to it at the direction of the US President (pursuant to the USA PATRIOT Act 2001) to help establish an Antiterrorism Emergency Reserve specifically devoted to assisting victims of terrorism and mass violence.   

7.4 Who can claim?

A claimant will have to be be an individual victim of terrorism abroad who is either a US national or an officer or employee of the US government.  In addition, the victim will have to have suffered direct physical or emotional injury as a result of an act of international terrorism occurring on or after 21 December 1988 in respect of which an investigation or prosecution was ongoing or was commenced after 24 April 1996.  The victim must not himself be criminally culpable for the act of terrorism in question, or have contributed materially to his own death or injury by illegal or grossly reckless conduct.

Family members will be able to make a claim on behalf of a victim who meets the above criteria and who is a minor, incompetent or incapacitated or who died as a result of their injuries.

7.5 What terrorist acts are covered?

It will be sufficient for there to have been a 'reasonable indication' that an act of terrorism occurred.  This will be determined for the purposes of ITVERP by the US Attorney General.  

7.6 Procedure

The Office of Management and Budget will determine what materials need to be submitted when applying for compensation.   It is expected that these will be listed on the OVC's website.

Since claims may initially be made for loss which occurred some years ago (see above), normal requirements re the production of receipts etc may be waived or modified in some cases.  

Time limit for making a claim: Three years from the date of the act of international terrorism (alternatively three years from the effective date of the regulations or from the date on which the nature of the act was established by the US Attorney General  -  see 7.5 above).

7.7 What injuries are covered / compensation provided?

As noted above, compensation will be limited to the 'expenses of … victimization'.  These fall into five major categories:

(a) medical (including dental and rehabilitation) costs;

(b) mental health care;

(c) property loss, repair and replacement;

(d) funeral and burial costs; and

(e) miscellaneous expense.  

Payments may be reduced to take into account compensation available from health, property or funeral (though not life) insurance, or from other schemes funded in whole or in part by the United States.  Lump sum payments from the US or foreign governments may also be taken into account in certain circumstances.