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Police agency to reconsider compensation system for victims of family crimes

The National Police Agency (NPA) has begun a debate on the possibility of compensating victims of family crimes as the current system does not allow it in principle, even though a majority of murders and attempted murders in 2016 were committed by family members.

    The NPA reported a total of 770 murder or attempted murder cases for 2016. The number is roughly half of that in 1979, however the percentage of crimes carried out within families has increased from 44 percent to 55 percent. The agency convened an advisory panel of experts on April 10 to debate whether the victims of these increasingly common family crimes should be eligible to receive monetary compensation. The panel is expected to make its recommendation before the end of summer.

    Under the current system, if someone dies as the result of a crime, their family is eligible to receive up to roughly 30 million yen in government compensation. Those who are injured or disabled as a result of a crime are also eligible for reparations. However, in cases where a crime occurs within a family, such as between spouses or between parents and children, except in some cases of domestic violence or child abuse, victims or their surviving family members are not eligible for compensation.

    "After serving their prison sentence, the offender may return to live with the victim, and there is a possibility that the money could end up going to the offender rather than to the victim," the agency explained, among other reasons for the rules under the current system.

    There is indeed a large flaw in the system. When the police agency investigated murder and attempted murder cases carried out between family members in 2014, it was found that among the attempted murder cases, 82 percent had lived with their attacker when the incident occurred, and victims in 67 percent of those cases testified in court or elsewhere that they would continue to live together with their assailants in the future. In the murder cases, 41 percent had lived together at the time, and 63 percent of surviving family members wished to live with the offender afterward.

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