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Psychosoziale Prozessbegleitung in Niedersachsen - Übersetzung auf Englisch

Psychosocial Court Assistance in Lower Saxony


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What is psychosocial support in court proceedings?

Psychosocial support in court proceedings is a particularly intensive form of support for victims of crimes.

The psychosocial support counsellors assist people affected by criminal offences, and in certain cases their relatives, before, during and after the criminal proceedings. They provide detailed information on all matters related to the criminal proceedings. In their work, the psychosocial support counsellors help to reduce the burden of criminal proceedings on victims. They also provide important assistance with individual problems in everyday life.

Psychosocial support in court proceedings preferably begins well before the main trial, in individual cases even before the charges are filed, and can – depending on requirements – also be continued after the criminal proceedings have ended.

Who is eligible for psychosocial support in court proceedings?

Psychosocial support services are aimed at all victims who have suffered particular stress as a result of experiencing a crime. The focus is particularly on children and young people, but also on victims of serious crimes, such as violent and sexual offences.

Since 1 January 2017, there has been a nationwide legal entitlement to psychosocial support in court proceedings in accordance with Section 406g of the Code of Criminal Procedure (StPO), according to which certain groups of people who have been victims of a serious crime can apply to the court for psychosocial support in court proceedings. This includes children and young people, adults who have either experienced a violent or sexual offence themselves or relatives who are suffering from particularly serious consequences of the crime. This group also includes people who are unable to represent their own interests. The court decides on an application for the appointment of a psychosocial court counsellor and also covers the costs.

In Lower Saxony, however, victims can also make use of psychosocial support services in all other cases if there is a corresponding need. No separate application is necessary for this because the service is additionally financed by a grant from the state of Lower Saxony.

The offer of psychosocial support in court proceedings is always free of charge for the victims.

What is the aim of psychosocial support in court proceedings?

The aim of psychosocial support in court proceedings is to stabilise and strengthen victims and to reduce the burden of the crime. The intensive, individual care and support provided by the psychosocial support counsellors helps to prevent secondary victimisation. Injured persons should not "become victims again".

This is intended to strengthen the willingness and ability of witnesses to testify.

What do psychosocial support services not include?

The offence(s) are not dealt with during the psychosocial support. There is also no discussion of the offence itself.

Psychosocial support in court proceedings does not replace psychotherapeutic treatment, legal counselling or representation!

What does psychosocial support in court proceedings provide?

Psychosocial support in court proceedings

  • makes it possible to discuss questions and uncertainties in a familiar setting;
  • offers support, for example when making applications and attending court hearings;
  • provides detailed information on the rights and obligations of those affected as well as the procedures of preliminary and criminal proceedings;
  • helps to reduce stress and provides referrals to other support services (e.g. doctors or therapists) and legal representation and
  • also provides important support in everyday life and in situations concerning particularly personal problems.

What qualifications do psychosocial support providers in court proceedings have?

Psychosocial support counsellors are experienced and specially trained interdisciplinary specialists who cooperate with all professional groups involved in criminal proceedings. They are aware of the roles and tasks of the parties involved in the proceedings and are just as familiar with the framework conditions of criminal proceedings as they are with the consequences of the offences for the victims. The psychosocial support counsellors work according to social work standards (Qualitätsstandards für die Durchführung der psychosozialen Prozessbegleitung in Niedersachsen (PDF ist nicht barrierefrei)).

A specific qualification and recognition by the Lower Saxony Ministry of Justice are required to carry out the work.

In Lower Saxony, a dedicated in-service, module-based qualification measure based on the Lower Saxony quality standards has been designed. This is implemented by the Lower Saxony Victim Support Foundation. Other training and further education courses recognised in the state of Lower Saxony can be found here.

You can apply for approval as a psychosocial support counsellor in Lower Saxony at www.navo.niedersachsen.de. You can submit requests for changes, extensions, cancellations or interruptions at www.navo.niedersachsen.de/navo2. If you have any questions, please contact Mr Veit Koch at the approval office, telephone: 0511 120-8722, email: veit.koch1@mj.niedersachsen.de.

Who can I contact?

A list of psychosocial support counsellors working in Lower Saxony can be found on this page in the download area.

If you have any questions or would like to be referred to a psychosocial support counsellor in your area, please call the

Lower Saxony Ministry of Justice
Coordinating Office for Psychosocial Support in Criminal Proceedings in Lower Saxony (Koordinierende Stelle der psychosozialen Prozessbegleitung in Niedersachsen)

Am Waterlooplatz 1
30169 Hannover

Email: MJH-KoordinierungsstellepProbe@justiz.niedersachsen.de Telephone: 0511 120-8728.

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