Reporting a crime

All criminal actions can be reported to police so they can be investigated and possibly go to trial. Reporting the crime as early as possible makes it easier for the police to perform their investigative work, but you have the right and ability to make a police report at any time.

If there is an emergency situation or a crime is in progress, call 112. This also applies if you have witnessed a crime or suspect a crime is in progress.

For non-emergency situations, you can make a police report at the police station or by calling 114 14. You can call that number 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

When making a report
The person taking your report will ask for your personal details as the injured party (crime victim) in the report. If you are making the report on behalf of someone else, you must provide both your personal details (reporting party) and the personal details of the other person (injured party), if you know them. If you do not want to make a formal report, you can still contact the police and tell them about your suspicions anonymously. It is then up to the police to follow up on the matter and find out whether a police report is required.

You will be asked about the date, time and location of the crime(s). This information must be as detailed as possible. You will be asked questions about the event.

Physical assault
If you have been physically assaulted, you will be asked in what way and what injuries it caused, whether there are visible injuries, and whether you have permanent or temporary pain. If you are injured, it is important to have the injuries documented (preferably photographed) by a doctor. The documentation is important evidence in the ongoing investigation and legal proceedings.

Sexual assault
If you have been the victim of a sexual assault, you will be asked questions similar to those indicated above. If possible, it is important to collect any traces of the crime that may exist, which could involve saving the clothes or sheets to find DNA in hairs or other trace evidence for later use as evidence. As soon as possible, you should be examined by a healthcare professional (emergency department, gynaecologist or unit specialised in helping rape victims). The healthcare professional will collect different samples and document and photograph any injuries, which may then serve as important evidence. If you contact the police soon after the incident occurred, they will help you safeguard such evidence and make sure you undergo a medical examination. Even if you don’t want to make a police report at that time, it is still important to undergo a medical examination and save any evidence in case you change your mind later.

If you’ve been threatened, you will be asked what was said, how it was said, and to provide direct quotes if possible. The threat directed at you may include other people, possessions or animals that are important to you. For the threat to be considered criminal, you must perceive it as serious (the intention of the perpetrator is not important). If the threat came in written form or if you told someone about it when it happened, you can save all information about the threat in your mobile phone, computer or another platform for later use as evidence.

Gross violation of a woman’s integrity and gross violation of integrity
If the perpetrator is a relative or someone you were/are in a close relationship with, multiple reported events may be classified and investigated as a single felony known as gross violation of integrity or gross violation of a woman’s integrity. There may be several different types of acts of psychological, physical or sexual violence (see above), but it also regards situations where the person intentionally breaks your things (vandalism) or violates a restraining order. The critical factor is that the same closely related person has committed several criminal acts against you over a short or long period of time (but within a time interval of six months), and that this has led to repeated violation of your self-esteem and integrity. You will be asked to relate what happened or what was said during the events and violations. At such time, the same questions, documentation and preservation of evidence apply as indicated above for the type of crime in question. When there is a series of events, you do not have to be able to provide exact details and times since it may be hard to keep the details of each event separate in your head when they have occurred repeatedly and over a prolonged period of time. The questions will then be about the relationship and how the repeated events have affected you and made you feel since it is a criminal offence in itself to systematically violate and break down the self-esteem of a closely related person.

If possible, it is important for you to provide the name and phone number of anyone who has seen or heard what happened. This can include people you were in contact with or told about the event, or people who helped you after the event occurred, even if they did not witness it directly.

Counsel for an injured party
Counsel for an injured party is provided free of charge for crime victims, who are referred to as the injured party in the criminal process. This person represents your interests during the process, and is there to provide you support and help. The counsel for an injured party is a legal expert or lawyer, and is intended to help you with your claim for damages, if you have one. Counsel for an injured party is appointed by the court. The prosecutor can apply to the court to have you assigned this counsel once the preliminary investigation has begun. The counsel is assigned either if requested by the injured party or if special reasons exist. If you would like a specific person to serve as counsel for an injured party, you need to state this when submitting your application. It may be a good idea to have the counsel with you at the first round of interviewing. In such case, you can let the police know this when you make the report. If may lead to a better preliminary investigation if you have counsel who has knowledge about the crime you experienced.

It is not possible to be assigned this counsel for all crimes. You must have been the victim of a crime that can lead to imprisonment for the accused, such as robbery or physical assault of a certain degree. You have the right to counsel if it can be presumed that you need counsel based on your personal relationship to the accused or other circumstances. For sexual assault, chapter 6 of the Penal Code specifies that counsel must always be appointed unless there is an obvious lack of need.

Even if you do not have the right to counsel, you have the right bring a support person along to the trial as well as to questioning. This can be a support person from a non-profit organisation or someone you know and want along as support.

At the district court, there is also witness support from non-profit organisations that have taken a moral vow of secrecy. They can provide practical information on site about the premises or the trial in general, and are also there to provide support if you are nervous or need someone to talk to. If you are worried about having to wait in the same room as the accused, you can ask the witness support about waiting in the witness support room, which is a room where you can wait in isolation with (or without) the witness support person. Individuals serving as a witness support wear a name tag indicating that they serve in this capacity. They usually move around the premises or are situated at a designated location, such as a table at the entrance.

For further information:
Police’s information page on crime in close relationships
Swedish Crime Victim Compensation and Support Authority’s website
Rättegångsskolan [Trial School] website