How and where can I report a crime?
If you become a victim of a crime, you can report it to the police or the prosecutor:
- in writing;
- by fax or e-mail – in those cases, if your report does not contain your official signature, you have to confirm it orally or in writing and sign it before the police or the prosecutor within three days.
There are some crimes for which your consent will be needed in order to start criminal prosecution (e.g. fraud, theft or assault in negligence, threat of spreading a venereal disease).
Your report does not need to have any special form, but it is recommended that you include:
- your full name, address, e-mail, phone number, etc.;
- a description of the facts that may prove the crime;
- a list of possible witnesses and other evidence;
- a description of all your injuries and the specific value of the damage you have suffered, if that can be already determined.
When reporting, you can be represented by a lawyer, in which case you have to attach his/her power of attorney.
If you reside in another EU Member State, you can report the crime to the authorities there.
If you do not speak the Slovak language, you can present your crime report in another language. The police or the prosecutor will have to translate it, if it is in writing, or provide an interpreter, if you report orally.
There is no specific deadline for you to submit a report, apart from the period after which criminal prosecution is no longer possible and which depends on the seriousness of the crime.
How can I follow up on what the authorities do after I report a crime?
You will receive a reference number for your report upon your request.
How can I be involved in the investigation of the crime?
As a victim, you have your own specific capacity in the criminal proceedings by law and you can join them at any time.
After you report the crime, you can:
- be heard as a witness or in relation to the damage you suffered;
- make additional statements and propose additional evidence, including witnesses and expert witnesses, before the police and the prosecutor;
- be represented by any natural person, by a lawyer at your own expense or by a victim support organisation;
- examine the case file after the closing of the investigation or apply to examine it during the investigation, except the reports that contain data on the identity of a protected witness or an undercover agent; make excerpts, notes or copies at your own expense; propose new actions and evidence;
- apply for free legal aid, if you cannot afford a lawyer and if it is necessary for the protection of your interests;
- claim from the offender the damages you have sustained until the completion of the investigation – after that deadline, you will only be able to put a claim in the civil court;
- complain about the investigative actions and decisions of police to the prosecutor; request in writing prosecution supervision on the police, if there are delays or other faults in the investigation.
In your capacity as a victim, you have the right to provide evidence, but the police and the prosecutor have the legal obligation to prove all aspects of the crime.
What are my rights as a witness?
As a witness to the crime, you have the following specific rights:
- to have an interpreter free of charge, if you do not speak the Slovak language; authorities also have the obligation to translate free of charge your written statements into Slovak;
- to be examined only to the extent necessary for the criminal proceedings and not to have your privacy unnecessarily violated by questions;
- to be interviewed with the help of technical equipment transmitting sound and images, if you cannot appear because of age, illness, disability or if you reside abroad;
- to refuse to testify, if the offender is your spouse, common-law spouse, sibling or another close relative or if testifying would bring the threat of prosecution to you or those persons;
- to have your expenses – travel expenses, accommodation, etc. - and lost earnings (witness allowance) reimbursed from the state budget – you have to claim them within 3 days of your interview.
I am a minor. Do I have additional rights?
If you are a minor, your crime report may be submitted by your parent or guardian. He/she may also represent you throughout the proceedings.
If you are under 15 years of age and your interview may affect you negatively, you will be interviewed with utmost consideration and your interview will not be repeated, if possible. An education specialist may be present as well as your legal guardian, if his/her presence can be beneficial for the interview. If necessary, technical equipment for the transmission of sound and images will be used. Your personal data will not be disclosed.
What information can I obtain from police or victim support organisations during the investigation of the crime?
The police have a legal obligation to decide whether to pursue your case within 30 days after you submit your report. You have the right to be informed about the development of the case in writing. Specifically, you have the right to be informed about the police decisions to start criminal proceedings and to charge the offender. You will also be informed, if the police decide not to initiate proceedings, which you can appeal before the prosecutor.
Also, at first contact with you, the police have to give you a written list of your rights in the criminal proceedings and a written list of assistance and support organisations. Authorities have to inform you about your rights, including damage compensation opportunities, and assist you in applying them.
You have no specific right to be informed about the arrest of the offender, but you will be informed about his/her release from detention, if he/she will present a danger for you.
Can I receive legal aid?
If you claim for compensation for the damage caused by the offender, you do not have sufficient resources to cover the expenses for a lawyer and this is necessary for the protection of your interests, you can apply for legal aid. It is provided by a lawyer and paid by the state.
If you are a victim of discrimination, you will be provided legal aid free of charge regardless of your income.
How can I get protection, if I am in danger?
If disclosing your address as a witness will endanger you or your relatives, you may provide your work address or another address, where authorities can officially communicate with you.
You may also be allowed not to provide any other personal data (identity, place of residence, etc.), if that would endanger your or your relatives’ life or health. In any case, your personal data as a victim will never be disclosed to the public.
You may be interviewed, using technical equipment, recording the interview or transmitting sound and image. During such an interview, your voice and appearance can be changed. In exceptional cases, you may benefit from change of identity.
If you are a victim of a terrorist act or a crime, committed by an organised criminal group, and you are in danger as a witness, you may participate in a witness protection programme, including measures of physical security.
If you are a victim of human trafficking, you may benefit from anonymous accommodation.
What services and assistance can I be given during the investigation of the crime?
As a victim of a crime, you will generally be assisted by non-governmental organisations. They can provide you services free of charge in the following areas:
- informing you about assistance available;
- psychological, legal and social counselling;
- crisis intervention - immediate, short-term psychological help to individuals who experience emotional, mental, physical, and behavioural distress;
- accompanying you to the police, representing you and helping you write motions/petitions;
- temporary financial and material aid;
- assisting you in searching for a job.
If you are a victim of human trafficking, you can benefit from a special programme for support and protection, including anonymous accommodation, therapy and healthcare.
Are there opportunities to reach settlement/conciliation or to start mediation between the offender and myself?
You can take part in mediation between the offender and yourself during the investigation of the crime. For less serious crimes with a maximum sentence of five years of imprisonment, that can lead to reconciliation, which the prosecutor can approve and consequently terminate the prosecution. You can also, for any crime, participate in reaching an agreement between the defence and the prosecution about the guilt of the offender and the sentence he/she should get.
How will my case continue after the end of the investigation?
After the end of the investigation, you have the right to examine the case file and propose new evidence.
The police may decide to move forward with the case or to drop proceedings.
Can I appeal if my case is closed without reaching the court?
You can appeal against the decision of police to drop proceedings within three days after its announcement to the prosecution. In the appeal, you can demand continuation of the proceedings and provide relevant reasoning.
You can only terminate proceedings, if they concern a crime, for which your consent is needed to start prosecution (e.g. fraud, theft or assault in negligence, threat of spreading a venereal disease). You can withdraw your consent until the moment the appeal court has its final deliberation and the proceedings will not continue.
I am a foreigner. How are my rights and interests protected?
If you are a foreigner, you have the following specific rights:
- if you reside in another EU Member State, you can report the crime to the authorities there;
- if you do not speak the Slovak language, you have the right to an interpreter free of charge;
- if you reside abroad, you can be interviewed as a witness using technical devices transmitting sound and images.
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