How and where can I report a crime?
If you become a victim of a crime, you can make a report at any police station. It is an official statement, which you complete and sign in the presence of a police officer – actually, the officer usually completes it himself/herself. In your report, you have to include your name, ID number, address, telephone number and description of the crime.
You can submit the report in any language and you are entitled to an interpreter free of charge, if you do not speak Greek.
The crime against you can also be reported by any of your close relatives, but only if you are not in position to report yourself (e.g. if you are in hospital).
There is no specific deadline, within which you should report.
How can I follow up on what the authorities do after I report a crime?
If you ask for a reference number for your report, you will be given one. You will also be provided with the contact details of the police officer in charge of your case, whom/whose station you have to contact for a follow-up.
How can I be involved in the investigation of the crime?
There is no specific legal capacity, in which you can be involved in the investigation.
As a victim, you will be heard by the police officer responsible for the investigation of your case and you have the right:
- to interpretation free of charge in relation to your testimony if you do not speak Greek;
- to be accompanied and represented by a lawyer;
- to apply for legal aid/consultation free of charge, if you are a victim of a human rights violation (1) or human trafficking;
- to undergo medical examination, if necessary;
- to be referred to the Social Welfare Services for support and advisory guidance;
- to make your statement before an officer of the same sex if your are a victim of domestic violence.
If you are a victim of human trafficking and exploitation, you have the following specific rights provided that you collaborate with the police:
- to be given information about any developments of the investigation or the prosecution of the offender or his/her release;
- to be reimbursed for any expenses, related to your participation in the proceedings.
To obtain access to data or documents concerning your case, you may initially contact the police officer in charge, who has to inform you about any new developments. If you are not satisfied or need more information, you may apply to the Chief of Police. You will receive a report about the proceedings, containing general information on their progress but without copies of specific documents. In the case of car accidents, you may also obtain a sketch of the accident’s scene for insurance or compensation purposes.
After the case goes to the Attorney General, in accordance with developed practice, you may also ask him/her for copies of the documents of the case but it is within his/her discretion to decide whether to give you such.
You do not have to prove any aspects of the crime you became a victim of – it is the obligation of police to investigate the case and collect information and evidence. You may act as a private prosecutor only for very minor crimes.
What are my rights as a witness?
During the investigation the police may call you for an interview as a witness. You have to appear at the police station and tell the police officer everything you know about the incident.
You are entitled to interpretation and translation free of charge at this stage as far as it concerns your own testimony. If you are a victim of domestic violence or human trafficking and exploitation, the publication or disclosure of your personal details of your testimony is prohibited.
I am a minor. Do I have additional rights?
If you are a minor, you have some additional rights:
- during the proceedings, to be accompanied by your parents or by an authorised officer, if you are under the custody of the Social Welfare Services;
- if you are a victim of domestic violence, to have your complaint submitted by a family counsellor from the Social Welfare Services;
- if you are a victim of human trafficking and you are unaccompanied, to be taken under the legal care of the Social Welfare Services director and have access to education and healthcare, as well as the right to family reunification.
What information can I obtain from police or victim support organisations during the investigation of the crime?
You are generally informed about new developments in the investigation, such as arrests, criminal charges, closing of the investigation, etc. The police keep a record of all the communication between you and the police regarding the information you have been given on developments of the case.
You are also informed when the case is transferred to the Prosecutor General to decide whether to proceed with prosecution and you are notified about his/her final decision.
Can I receive legal aid?
If you are a victim of a human rights violation (1) and are part of proceedings against the Republic of Cyprus for its alleged failure to protect or respect your rights, you may apply to the court for legal aid free of charge. Legal aid includes free consultation, assistance and representation.
Currently, the relevant legislation is under amendment in order to provide for free legal aid to the victims of human trafficking.
How can I get protection, if I am in danger?
The Prosecutor General may decide whether you need to be included in the ‘Witness Protection Plan’ and what protection you and your family, if needed, will be given, usually after the beginning of the investigation. Protection measures may include:
- transfer to another place of residence within the country, which will be kept secret;
- transfer to another country;
- change of identity;
- special arrangements of detention.
If you are a victim of domestic violence:
- the publication of the personal details in your testimony is prohibited;
- you may be transferred to a shelter, run by the Association for the Prevention and Handling of Violence in the Family;
- the court may issue a temporary order for the expulsion of the offender from the family home or to prohibit the offender from visiting or harassing you.
If you are a victim of human trafficking and exploitation:
- the publication of the personal details in your testimony is prohibited;
- your case has to be reported to the Social Welfare Services by any state official, aware of your situation - the Social Welfare Services must inform you of your rights, take measures for your protection and refer the case to the police;
- you have to be protected without any distinction and regardless of your legal status or your cooperation with police.
What services and assistance can I be given during the investigation of the crime?
During the investigation of the crime, you can be provided assistance depending on the special elements of the crime you suffered from and your personal characteristics.
Generally, medical treatment is provided by public hospitals and psychological support is given by the Psychiatric Services Department. Citizens of the 27 EU Member States, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland can benefit from the European Health Insurance Card.
Temporary welfare allowance may be provided to you, including ‘urgent’ allowance, if you have special needs or in case of emergency, upon decision of the Director of the Social Welfare Services.
If you are a victim of human trafficking, you have the following specific rights:
- access to welfare benefit;
- access to free healthcare;
- psychological support;
- police protection;
- translation/interpretation free of charge;
- personal data protection;
- access to social rehabilitation programmes.
Are there opportunities to reach settlement/conciliation or to start mediation between the offender and myself?
You do not have specific opportunities in the law to resort to mediation between the offender and yourself. In practice, however, you may reach a private settlement with the offender, withdraw your report and the police may close the investigation, unless the case has been forwarded to the Attorney General. In this case, it is only the Attorney General who can discontinue the proceedings.
How will my case continue after the end of the investigation?
After the police investigation finishes, the case is forwarded to the Attorney General to decide whether to proceed with prosecution. You will be notified of his/her final decision.
Can I appeal if my case is closed without reaching the court?
You do not have a specific opportunity to intervene as to whether your case will reach the court.
I am a foreigner. How are my rights and interests protected?
If you are a foreigner, you have the right to interpretation free of charge, if you do not speak Greek.
As a foreign victim of human trafficking and exploitation, you have the right to:
- protection irrespective of your legal status in the country – documented or undocumented migrant, etc.;
- temporary residence permit and work permit by the Migration Department;
- access to labour, professional training and social rehabilitation programmes (e.g. preparation for return to country of origin), if you are a third country national.
- Criminal Procedure Law (Ο περί Ποινικής Δικονομίας Νόμος)
- Legal Aid Act of 2002 (ο περί Νομικής Αρωγής Νόμος του 2002) – in Greek
- Combating Human Trafficking and Exploitation and Protection of Victims Act of 2007 (ο περί της Καταπολέμησης της εμπορίας και εκμετάλλευσης προσώπων και προστασίας των θυμάτων Νόμος του 2007) – in Greek
- Domestic Violence (Prevention and Victims’ Protection) Act of 2000 (Ο περί Βίας στην Οικογένεια (Πρόληψη και Προστασία Θυμάτων) Νόμος του 2000) – in Greek
- Protection of Witnesses Act of 2001 (Ο περί Προστασίας Μαρτύρων Νόμος του 2001)
- Welfare Allowances and Services Law (Ο περί Δημόσιων Βοηθημάτων και Υπηρεσιών Νόμος) – in Greek
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