You are considered to be the victim of a crime if you have suffered damage, e.g. you have been injured or your property has been damaged or stolen, as the result of an incident which constitutes a crime under national law. As a victim of crime, the law grants you certain individual rights before, during and after court proceedings. You may also be entitled to various forms of support and compensation for damage caused by the crime.
Criminal proceedings in Sweden start with the investigation of the crime, known as the preliminary investigation. With some exceptions, there is an obligation to start a preliminary investigation if there are grounds to assume a crime has been committed. Preliminary investigations are conducted by the police, but sometimes led by a prosecutor. After the investigation is completed, the prosecutor may decide to continue the proceedings by bringing the case to court or, if the prosecutor does not believe there is sufficient evidence, close the case without bringing it to court. If the case is brought to court there will be a trial. During the trial, the court examines all the evidence collected and decides whether or not to convict the accused of the crime. The court will also state whether there is any possibility to appeal to a higher court.
As the victim of a crime, you play a significant part in proceedings and have a variety of rights. You can participate in legal proceedings without a specific legal status or play a more active part by formally becoming a party to the proceedings. You may claim damages and/or support the prosecution. In certain cases you may bring a private prosecution on your own initiative when the prosecutor has decided not to.
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