Hungary’s system of providing aid to the victims of crimes is becoming increasingly effective, the justice minister told a conference on the subject on Tuesday, adding that while the number of crimes has dipped, the number of people helped through the system has increased. Judit Varga said the system followed a Dutch pattern, in which victims would start receiving services automatically, from the time they file a criminal complaint, without having to apply for assistance separately, unless they refuse their personal data to be forwarded to the support centre.
In 2022, the system handled 21,000 clients, compared with 18,000 last year, the minister said. The system runs a 24 hour hotline, while victims can also seek help at the centres personally; the number of such visits has exceeded 10,500 since the beginning of the year, twice as many as last year, she said. Concerning compensation paid to crime victims from state coffers, Varga said a total 47 million forints (EUR 113,000) was paid out in 2020, 68 million last year, and 100 million forints in the first 11 months of 2022.
The minister spoke highly of the centres’ staff members “going above and beyond to do their jobs throughout the year, seeing so much trauma and learning so many stories and doing their best in every case.” Despite economic hardships, five new facilities have been opened in Hungary in 2022, Varga said, adding that Hungary now has 11 centres and 4 contact points for crime victims. By 2025, there will be a help facility in each of Hungary’s 19 counties, she added.