You can report a crime to the police:
If you do not speak Swedish, or if you have a speech impediment or seriously impaired hearing, you are entitled to free assistance by an interpreter.
Anyone else can report a crime to the police, even if you are the only person affected.
There is no deadline for submitting the report. However, after a certain period of time, which depends on the seriousness of the crime, the authorities will not start a preliminary investigation.
The report has to include:
You can submit the report in any language you want. There is no special form required by authorities.
After reporting a crime you will be given a reference number. Using this number you can find out what is being done in your case by contacting the police by phone, by sending an e-mail to your local police station or by visiting the nearest police station. If you want to talk to the police officer who is responsible for your case, you can use the police’s national phone number 114 14. The switchboard operator can refer you to the policeman who is responsible for your case.
When you are reporting a crime, you will usually give your account of what has happened. You will be heard by a police officer or in some cases by a prosecutor.
If the police wish to question you during the preliminary investigation, you are required to attend the police station. If you fail to appear without a valid reason you risk being fined. If you attend, you can receive reimbursements for expenses (such as travel costs, accommodation and loss of income, up to a maximum amount of 700 SEK per day). There are no time limits for claiming and receiving reimbursements of expenses and you are to be compensated by the police as soon as possible. You can also receive reimbursements of expenses in advance.
You cannot join proceedings as a party during the investigation. You can become a party only:
You may support the prosecution at any time during the proceedings and then you have almost the same procedural position as the prosecutor and can for example present your own evidence. However, you do not have to prove any aspects of the crime.
You have the right to bring a private prosecution upon your own initiative or to pursue a private prosecution if the prosecutor has closed or withdrawn a public prosecution. Then you need to prove that the crime has taken place.
If you do not speak Swedish, if you have a speech impediment or seriously impaired hearing, you are entitled to free assistance from an interpreter during the interview. You also have the right to have certain documents translated free of charge.
As a victim of crime, you will not be interviewed as a witness but as a party. Thus, you do not have a duty to answer or to speak under oath. This applies throughout the criminal procedure.
If you are a minor, your guardian has to make the report to the police either by phone, by visiting the nearest police station or on the Internet.
If the child needs protection, which can imply a need for the social welfare committee (most municipalities have a social welfare committee) to intervene any person can notify the committee accordingly.
As a child, in many cases you have the right to your own legal counsel (1). You may also have the right to a special legal representative (2), if a person who has custody of you, usually a parent, is suspected of committing a crime against you or if the suspect has a close relationship with the person who has custody of you.
If you are under 18 years of age someone who has specific competence for this task will interview you. The interview should also be conducted in a child friendly environment and in such a way that you are not harmed.
If you as a child have witnessed a crime which would typically be assumed to harm your confidence and trust in a person with whom you have a relationship (for instance, if you have witnessed one parent being assaulted or threatened by the other or by some other person close to you), you may be entitled to compensation from the State. Various forms of psychological and social support and also financial and practical assistance may be provided to you by the social welfare board if you have witnessed violence or other abuse by or towards adults close to you.
The police and the prosecutor are obliged to inform you about:
The information will often be given to you both orally and in brochures in many different languages. Information can also be found online at different web pages administrated for example by the Crime Victim Compensation and Support Authority.
Since you are not considered a party during this stage of proceedings, you will not receive current information and have no right to inspect the files during ongoing investigation since the investigation is subject to secrecy.
Legal assistance may be given in several different forms.
Legal advice can be provided by a lawyer’s office concerning all types of cases and lawsuits. Such a consultation must not exceed two hours. The fee you have to pay for consultation is fixed and currently amounts to SEK 1 506 per hour. The fee may be reduced depending on your financial circumstances.
If you are a victim of a crime of a sexual nature or violence in close relationships you may have the right to your own legal counsel (1), which is appointed by the court and is free of charge. A legal counsel may under certain conditions be appointed for you in other situations as well.
A legal counsel is obliged to assist you if you have claims for damages. If a legal counsel has not been appointed for you, the public prosecutor may in some cases be able to assist you concerning damages claims.
If the public prosecutor is not able to assist you concerning claims for damages or if you need help in negotiations with an insurance company, you can contact a lawyer’s office in order to hire a legal representative. If you have insurance including a legal expenses clause, you have to make use of your insurance in order to cover the costs for legal representation. If you do not have a legal expenses clause in your insurance, and it is not deemed that you ought to have had such a clause, you may be granted legal aid provided that an income check shows that you are eligible for such aid. In that case, part of your costs for legal representation will be covered by the State.
Both an insurance with legal expenses clause and legal aid may also cover costs for the provision of evidence, travel and accommodation as well as other costs. Information about how to apply for legal aid is available from any lawyer’s office, court of law or the National Legal Aid Authority.
If you have a mental or physical disability or illness you have the right to a trustee in charge of your assets and interests. The trustee is appointed by the court and is usually a layman. He or she may also be a relative.
If you or/and your relatives are threatened, there are a number of measures intended to improve your and their safety:
The police and the National Tax Board can also give practical advice on how you can make everyday life safer.
If you feel that you need support when being interviewed by the police or to cope better during the coming hearing, you have the right to be accompanied by a support person. You may have both a legal counsel (1) and a support person. You can choose someone you already know or you can ask the social services or one of the victim support centres or women’s shelters.
You can receive medical assistance but you may be asked to pay for it. Citizens of the 27 EU Member States, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland can benefit from the European Health Insurance Card. If you need medical and/or psychological care you can contact your nearest hospital or health centre for help. The social welfare board should help you with various forms of psychological and social support and also financial and practical assistance.
There are no opportunities for you to reach a settlement between the suspect and yourself in relation to the public prosecution. You can however reach a settlement regarding your claim for damages.
If you reach a settlement with the suspect providing for payment of a certain sum that otherwise, according to established practice, would be considered too low, you cannot then receive the surplus amount from an insurance company or from the Crime Victim Compensation and Support Authority as compensation from the State.
You may also resort to mediation with the suspect, if:
Mediation may take place at any stage of the proceedings and is arranged by the local authorities. Mediation means that the suspect and the victim meet in the presence of a mediator to discuss the crime committed and the effects of that crime. Mediation does not enable the suspect and the victim to reach a settlement in respect of the public prosecution.
The prosecutor decides whether to launch the prosecution or not.
When the prosecution is launched, or as soon as possible thereafter, the prosecutor should submit to the court a copy of the record or notes of the preliminary investigation together with the written documents and objects that the prosecutor intends to invoke as evidence.
If you have supported the prosecution or have a claim for damages you have the right to receive a copy of the record or notes of the preliminary investigation from the prosecutor. Anyone has access to these data and documents, if they are not subject to secrecy towards the public.
If the prosecutor decides not to launch the prosecution, you, as a victim, can only obtain access to data and documents that you need in order to claim damages in a civil law suit, and every such request will be tried. Apart from this purpose to gather information to file a civil law suit, there is no right for a victim or any other person to gain access to data or documents concerning the proceedings, even if you are asking for a review of the prosecutor’s decision not to prosecute.
You cannot be heard by the police or the prosecutor after formal charges are brought against an offender. You and/or your legal counsel (1) may however ask the prosecutor to assist with the inquiry. After formal charges are brought against an offender you will be called to appear before the district court.
You may ask for a review of the prosecutor’s decision not to prosecute through the procedure of reconsideration. The decision is reconsidered either by a superior prosecutor at one of the Development Centres at the Prosecution Authority or by the Prosecutor General.
You may pursue a private prosecution if the prosecutor has decided not to institute a prosecution.
If you are a foreigner and you have suffered from a crime in Sweden you have all the rights explained above. In addition, if you do not speak Swedish, you are entitled to free assistance from an interpreter during the interrogation. You also have the right to have certain documents translated free of charge.
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