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What if you are a victim of an offense?

Verified 30 avril 2020 - Directorate of Legal and Administrative Information (Prime Minister), Ministry of Justice

If you are a victim of a offense (theft, assault, burglary...), you can file a complaint. After investigation, the perpetrator may be prosecuted. In this case, you can claim compensation. If the perpetrator is known, you can also refer the matter directly to the court by a direct quotation. Victims' associations or lawyers can help you with your work.

Simple complaint

The complaint allows you to enter public prosecutor who may decide to have an investigation carried out by the police or gendarmerie. At the end of the investigation, the perpetrator may be summoned to court for trial.

You must lodge a complaint within the deadlines.. After these time limits, the offender will no longer be prosecuted.

On site

You must go to a police station or the gendarmerie of your choice.

The police or gendarmerie are obliged to register the complaint.

The complaint is then transmitted to the public prosecutor to decide on the follow-up (investigation, classification without follow-up...).

If you do not know the author of the facts, you can fill out a pre-complaint online before moving.

You will then get an appointment and the police or gendarmes will already have the elements of your complaint when you arrive.

Online Pre-Complaint

Ministry of the Interior

  Warning : you can only use the pre-complaint online if you are the victim of a property breach (theft, degradation) or a discriminatory act.

You can ask for a lawyer's help.

By mail

You can lodge a complaint directly with the public prosecutor. We need to send free paper letter the court of the place of the offense or the place of residence of the offender.

The letter must include the following:

  • Civil status and full contact information (address and telephone number) of the complainant
  • Detailed account of the facts, date and place of the offense
  • Assumed author's name if you know him (otherwise the complaint will be filed against X)
  • Names and addresses of potential witnesses to the offense
  • Description and provisional or final injury estimate
  • Evidence: medical certificates, work stoppages, various invoices, findings .....
  • Willingness to take part in civil proceedings

Make a complaint to the public prosecutor

Directorate of Legal and Administrative Information (Dila) - Prime Minister

You can send your complaint by registered letter with acknowledgement of receipt or by simple letter. You can also file your complaint directly at the court reception. In all cases, a receipt will be given to you as soon as the public prosecutor's office has registered your complaint.

You can call on a lawyer to file a complaint with the public prosecutor for you. Lawyer fees are at your expense.

  FYI : the victim shall have the right to legal assistance from the time of filing the complaint and throughout the investigation.

Complaint with civil suit

You can file a complaint with the formation of a civil party to an examining magistrate if you are:

  • The Public Prosecutor decided to no further classification after your complaint
  • After a period of 3 months following the lodging of the complaint, you did not receive an answer from the public prosecutor
  • The complaint concerns a crime (rape, murder...)

You can speak to a lawyer.

Who shall I contact

Lawyer's fees can be covered by legal aid..

The direct quote is a quick procedure that allows the victim to refer the matter directly to the police or correctional court without an investigation.

You must know the perpetrator and have sufficient evidence.

The perpetrator may be fined and/or sentenced to prison.

It must also compensate the victim civil party..

You can ask for a lawyer's help.

Who shall I contact

If you do not have enough resources to meet the lawyer's fees you can apply legal aid..

Establishment of a civil party for the hearing

When the author is tried in court, you can claim compensation for:

  • Body (injury, disability, ...)
  • Material (loss of wages resulting from the offense, destruction of property, reparations ...)
  • Moral (psychological damage)

To get compensation, you need to constitute civil..

Compensation Commission for Victims (Civi)

You can refer the matter to the Compensation Commission for Victims of Crime (Civi) where you cannot be compensated by the perpetrator (the perpetrator has not been identified or is insolvent). To seize the Civi, your compensation by an organization (insurance, social security, mutual) must also be impossible.

You can claim compensation for personal injury that resulted in a total or partial incapacity to work longer than 1 month. You can also claim compensation for a serious damage to your property (example: fire in your vehicle).

  FYI : if the victim of the offense has died, his/her rights holders (spouse, parents, children) may refer the matter to the Civi.

Victims of Crime Recovery Service (Sarvi)

If you have obtained the conviction of the perpetrator to the payment of damages and he doesn't pay you, you can Seize Victim Recovery Service (Sarvi)..

The Sarvi may compensate you for a sum it recovers from the convicted person.

Civil trial: compensation

You can go to a civil court and ask your opponent to compensation for your loss..

There will be no police or gendarmerie investigation. The perpetrator shall not be sentenced to imprisonment or a fine.

The court having jurisdiction shall depend on the sums involved in the dispute.

  • For a dispute less than or equal to €10,000, it is the local court or the judicial court.
  • For litigation greater than €10,000, it's the court.

You can ask for a lawyer's help.

Costs may be covered under legal aid..

Of free legal consultations are organized by lawyers. You can find out from the law society in your home.

You can also get help from an association of the France Victims network.

Who shall I contact

You can also call the Victim Support Number.

  • 116 006 - Victim Support Number

    Listens, informs and advises victims of crime and their relatives.

    By phone


    Free call

    Open 7 days a week from 9am to 7pm

    The service can also be accessed by dialing +33 (0)1 80 52 33 76 (normal pricing number).

    By email

You can contact the house of justice and law of your home.