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Victims' rights - by country

Sweden

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Sweden

How and where can I report a crime?

How can I follow up on what the authorities do after I report a crime?

How can I be involved in the investigation of the crime?

What are my rights as a witness?

I am a minor. Do I have additional rights?

What information can I obtain from police or victim support organisations during the investigation of the crime?

Can I receive legal aid?

How can I get protection, if I am in danger?

What services and assistance can I be given during the investigation of the crime?

Are there opportunities to reach settlement/conciliation or to start mediation between the suspect and myself?

How will my case continue after the end of the investigation?

Can I appeal if my case is closed without reaching the court?

I am a foreigner. How are my rights and interests protected?

More information

How and where can I report a crime?

You can report a crime to the police:

  • by phoning the emergency number 112 or on the non-emergency number 114 14 (+46 77 114 14 00 from abroad);
  • on the Internet (in Swedish) in the event of theft, a break-in or lost property;
  • by visiting the nearest police station.

You can find information on making a report in Swedish and in English on the police website.

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:

  • your name;
  • your personal identification number, 'coordination number' or date of birth if you do not have a personal identification number of 'coordination number';
  • contact details (home address, any other postal address, telephone number and e-mail address);
  • the offence and the time and place when it was committed, as exactly as possible;
  • whether you need an interpreter and if so, for what language;
  • information about the goods that have been lost or stolen (e.g. production number, frame number, IMEI number, etc.); and
  • information about any insurance policies you may hold.

You can submit the report in any language you want. There is no special form required by authorities.

How can I follow up on what the authorities do after I report a crime?

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.

How can I be involved in the investigation of the crime?

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:

  • when a prosecutor has started a prosecution;
  • if you have a claim for damages; and/or
  • if you support the prosecution.

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.

What are my rights as a witness?

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.

I am a minor. Do I have additional rights?

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.

What information can I obtain from police or victim support organisations during the investigation of the crime?

The police and the prosecutor are obliged to inform you about:

  • how you might receive damages from the suspect compensation from the State;
  • the duty of the prosecutor, in most circumstances, to prepare and present your claim for damages in court if you so request;
  • the regulations governing visiting bans, legal counsel for the injured party and support person;
  • how to apply for legal aid and legal advice;
  • authorities and organisations offering support and assistance;
  • the investigation not being initiated or being closed;
  • whether a legal action has been brought; and
  • the absconding of an arrested or detained person.

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.

Can I receive legal aid?

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.

How can I get protection if I am in danger?

If you or/and your relatives are threatened, there are a number of measures intended to improve your and their safety:

  • visiting ban (3);
  • restricted access (4) to your personal data;
  • change of name (change of name to a parent’s surname can be done through an application to the National Tax Board, a change to any other surname requires permission from the Swedish Patent and Registration Office);
  • security package (the package comprises a mobile phone and an alarm system and can be borrowed from the local police authority after special review); and
  • other measures (in very serious circumstances you can get a personal bodyguard and/or be granted permission to use a fictitious identity).

The police and the National Tax Board can also give practical advice on how you can make everyday life safer.

What services and assistance can I be given during the investigation of the crime?

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.

Are there opportunities to reach settlement/conciliation or to start mediation between the suspect and myself?

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:

  • the offence has been reported to the police;
  • the suspect has acknowledged his or her guilt before mediation is initiated;
  • both parties agree to mediation.

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.

How will my case continue after the end of the investigation?

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.

Can I appeal if my case is closed without reaching the 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.

I am a foreigner. How are my rights and interests protected?

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.

More information:

  • Code of Judicial Procedure (Rättegångsbalk) – in English and Swedish
  • Administrative Procedure Act (Förvaltningslag) – in Swedish
  • Public Access to Information and Secrecy Act (Offentlighets- och sekretesslag) – in English and Swedish
  • Social Service Act (Socialtjänstlag) - in English and Swedish
  • Penal Code (Brottsbalk) – in English and Swedish.
  • Decree on Preliminary Investigation (Förundersökningskungörelse) – in Swedish
  • Act concerning Counsel for the Injured Party (Lag 1988:609 om målsägandebiträde) – in Swedish
  • Act on Special Representative for Children (Lag 1999:997 om särskild företrädare för barn) – in Swedish
  • Legal Aid Act (Rättshjälpslag) – in Swedish
  • Act on Restraining Orders (Lag 1988:688 om kontaktförbud) – in Swedish
  • Act on Population Registration (Folkbokföringslag) – in Swedish
  • Name Act (Namnlag) – in Swedish
  • Act on Fictitious Personal Data (Lag 1991:483 om fingerade personuppgifter) – in Swedish
  • Parental Code (Föräldrabalk) – in Swedish
  • The Freedom of the Press Act (Tryckfrihetsförordning) – in English and Swedish
  • Criminal Injuries Compensation Act (Brottsskadelag) – in Swedish
  • Act on Mediation (Lag 2002:445 om medling med anledning av brott) – in Swedish
  • Decree on reimbursement at Preliminary Investigations in Criminal cases (Kungörelse 1969:590 om ersättning vid förundersökning I brottmål) – in Swedish
  • Decree on Reimbursements from Public funds to witnesses (Förordning 1982:805 om ersättning av allmänna medel till vittnen m.m.) – in Swedish
  • Ordinance of Payments Concerning Reimbursements of Expenses in Cases and Court Matters (Kungörelse 1973:261 om utbetalning av vissa ersättningar I mål eller ärende vid domstol m.m.) – in Swedish
Notes:

1. Legal counsel
The counsel is usually a lawyer or an assistant lawyer at a legal practice, but can also be another suitable person with legal expertise. The counsel will look after your interests and give you guidance and support during the investigation.
A counsel can be appointed as soon as the preliminary investigation has been initiated. If you feel you need a counsel, you need to bring up the matter with the police officer or the public prosecutor in charge of the preliminary investigation as soon as possible. You can also make a request for a counsel directly to the district court. It is the district court that decides whether you are entitled to a counsel and if so, the court will appoint the counsel free of charge. You are allowed to make a request regarding whom the court shall appoint. The counsel can also help you by presenting your claim for damages.

2. Special legal represenative for children
If you are a minor and one of your parents or a person who has custody of you is suspected of having committed a crime against you a special legal representative will be appointed to safeguard your rights during the investigation and at the hearing. If your parents are living together, a lawyer or an assistant lawyer at a legal practice may be appointed as special legal representative. If your parents do not live together, the parent not suspected of having committed a crime against you may be appointed as special legal representative. The person chosen must be experienced and have a sound knowledge of children’s rights and have personal traits that make him/her especially suitable for this task. The representative is free of charge for you.
3. Visiting ban
A visiting ban means that the person threatening and harassing you will be forbidden to visit you, follow after you or contact you in any other way, such as by letter, text message, telephone or through friends or come near your home, place of work or any other place you normally visit. A visiting ban can also be imposed on a person who lives together with you but only if there is a tangible risk of crimes that threaten your life, health, freedom or integrity. It is the prosecutor who decides whether to impose a visiting ban. If the prosecutor decides not to impose a visiting ban, you may request the district court to review the decision. A person who violates a visiting ban may be sentenced to pay a fine or to imprisonment for up to one year.
4. Restricted access
If you need to keep your address secret to avoid threats and other kinds of harassment, you may request the Tax Agency to restrict access to your personal data stored in the National Population Register as well as in all other official registers updated via the National Population Register (the Motor Vehicle Register, the Driving Licences Register, etc.) If you move, you may also apply to the Tax Agency, to remain registered under your old address in the National Population Register. It is important that you inform all authorities you have contact with that public access to your personal data is restricted.
Last update: 16/07/2018

The national language version of this page is maintained by the respective Member State. The translations have been done by the European Commission service. Possible changes introduced in the original by the competent national authority may not be yet reflected in the translations. The European Commission accepts no responsibility or liability whatsoever with regard to any information or data contained or referred to in this document. Please refer to the legal notice to see copyright rules for the Member State responsible for this page.

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