Children with protected identity

There are over 4000 children and young people living with a protected identity in Sweden. Many have experienced violence or threats either directly against them or against someone in their family. Protected identity is intended to help children and young people who had experienced violence and threats feel safe and secure that they will not have to experience it again.

There are three types of protected identity. Which type is applied depends on how dangerous the situation is and how much protection is needed.

  1. Restricted access
    With restricted access, the school, healthcare organisations, Social Services and other authorities must be especially careful when disclosing the person’s name, address and phone number. You can request restricted access from Skatteverket (Swedish Tax Agency), which will then flag the personal data in the National Population Register. The flag is a type of warning signal to indicate that the child’s personal data may not be disclosed to authorities without special permission and security control. Restricted access is in effect for one year at a time.
  2. Address protection
    With address protection, the new address is not included in any register and only Skatteverket knows where the person actually lives. The address register and other spots instead continue to show the old address, even though the person has moved and actually lives somewhere else. Address protection is in effect for maximum three years at a time.
  3. Assumed identity
    With an assumed identity, you are given permission to use a fictitious identity. This means that you get a new name and a new personal identity number. You also have to move to a new, secret location. This is the strongest level of protection available.

It may feel tough and complicated to have a protected identity. It may be more difficult to join recreational activities, participate in social media or get a library card. You might need to be constantly on guard about what you tell and don’t tell your friends. Some children and young people feel alone. Some find it hard not to be able to tell people everything or be honest.

Children with a protected identity sometimes feel like adults don’t understand why they have a protected identity and don’t know what to do. Sometimes, it is the child who ends up taking the greatest responsibility for ensuring their identity remains protected. That’s not the way it should be. Adults should be helping and supporting the child, making sure they are safe and that the protection is working.

If you would like to know more about protected identity and what other children and young people think about it, you can visit the I WANT TO KNOW website JAG VILL VETA, created by the Swedish Crime Victim Compensation and Support Authority.