1 - My rights during the investigation of a crime
How and where can I report a crime?
If you have suffered from a crime in Denmark you can report it to the Danish Police. You can do this by going to the nearest police station or by calling 114. In very urgent cases you can call the emergency number 112. If you have become a victim of theft you can also report online by filling in the special form available on the website of the Danish Police.
There is no obligatory form you have to use when reporting a crime. When you visit a police station or call by phone the police officer to whom you speak will draft a written report. You do not need to sign the report. Anonymous reports are also accepted.
There is no deadline for reporting a crime to the police. However, the law provides for certain time limits after which the crime will not be investigated. After that period you can still submit a report but the police will not open an investigation.
In your report you have to include all relevant information related to the incident as well as any evidence you have at your disposal. It is recommended that you include as much information as possible because based on your report the police will decide whether a crime has been committed and whether an investigation has to be opened.
If you do not speak Danish you can report a crime in a language you understand. If necessary, the police will find an interpreter and translate the relevant documents for you.
In most cases after receiving your report the police will take over and investigate the case. However, if you have become victim of a minor crime like slander or libel you have to go through a different procedure. For such crimes no police investigation takes place and you need to submit a complaint directly to the court. Your complaint must be submitted within six months after you learned about the offence. Based on your complaint the court will start a trial against the alleged offender.
How can I follow up on what the authorities do after I report a crime?
When you report a crime the police will immediately issue a receipt. The receipt will be handed to you personally or will be sent to you by post. This receipt contains a reference number, which you can use to receive information from the police about the progress of your case. You can also check how your case is proceeding by using your personal registration number or social security number.
How can I be involved in the investigation of the crime?
In principle, the investigation of the crime is a responsibility of the police. The police will inform you on a regular basis about important developments regarding your case, e.g. arrest of a suspect. If you wish, you can also check the progress of your case by using the reference number of your receipt or your personal registration number or social security number.
According to Danish law victims are not allowed to be present during investigative actions. If you have a lawyer, he/she may personally check the documentation of the case. Your lawyer may share such information with you only with the consent of the police. After the case is closed you will also be allowed to check the entire documentation.
During the investigation the police and the public prosecutor will collect all the relevant evidence on your case. You as a victim do not need to prove any aspects of the crime you have suffered from. However, if you have some evidence that you wish to present you can give it to the police officer or the public prosecutor in charge of your case.
What are my rights as a witness?
In the course of the investigation you may be asked by the police to appear for an interview as a witness. During the interview you are allowed to remain silent. The only information you are obliged to share with the police at this stage is your personal data (e.g. name, birth date, address).
Every time the police call you for an interview as a witness they will explain to you when and how you can ask for the appointment of a lawyer.
During your interview you will be provided with an interpreter free of charge. The documents related to your interview will also be translated for you free of charge.
If you are victim of violence, threat or a sexual offence and you are expected to appear in court as a witness you will be provided with a contact person from the local police station or prosecution office. This person will assist you when you contact the police or the public prosecution.
I am a minor. Do I have additional rights?
If you are a child the court will appoint a lawyer for you who will assist you throughout the proceedings. During the investigation the lawyer will accompany you during your interview at the police. He/she will explain to you the procedure and may also ask you additional questions to help you better understand the questions asked by the police.
If you are a child victim of sexual offence the offender will not be allowed to be present during your interview. Furthermore, you can agree to have your interview videotaped by the police or the prosecutor, which will allow you not to give testimony in court. Instead, the videotape of your interview will be shown to the judges. When your interview during the investigation is videotaped so that it can be used during the trial, the lawyer of the offender may be allowed to be present.
What information can I obtain from police or victim support organisations during the investigation of the crime?
The police are obliged to provide you with information to help you overcome the consequences of the crime. This information will include:
- how to appoint a lawyer;
- how to claim compensation from the offender during the criminal proceedings;
- how to receive compensation from the State;
- how to receive counselling from the Victims Counselling Service;
- what your rights and duties as a witness are.
During the investigation the police will inform you about important developments on your case, e.g. the arrest of a suspect. If the police decide to schedule a hearing they will send you or your lawyer a notification about the date and time of the hearing.
If you are a victim of a serious crime like violence or sexual offence the police will also explain to you the expected development of your case.
If the police decide not to open an investigation on your report or to discontinue an ongoing investigation, you as a victim will receive a notification. You will also be notified if the public prosecutor decides to dismiss charges against a suspect. You will receive the same notifications if you are a close relative to a victim who has died as a result of the crime.
Can I receive legal aid?
Free legal aid is available primarily to victims of specific crimes like violence and sexual offences. If you are a victim of violence you can make a request to the court and the court will appoint a lawyer free of charge to represent you. If you are a victim of sexual crime you do not need to make any specific request; the court will automatically appoint a lawyer to represent you.
For other crimes you can also ask the court to appoint a lawyer for you. However, in such cases the court will first consider whether the seriousness of the crime and your specific need of assistance (e.g. low income) justify such an appointment and may reject your request if it finds it unjustified.
How can I get protection, if I am in danger?
If you are a victim of violence you can ask the police to order the offender not to contact or molest you. Usually, the police will issue such an order if there have been several incidents of harassment or molestation or if there is a serious threat that the offender will continue to molest you in the future.
As a victim of violence you can ask the police to provide you with a special phone with a built in GPS function so that your location can easily be established.
If you are a victim of domestic violence and you live with the offender you can ask the police to ban the offender from staying at your common home. The ban will be lifted if you and your partner resume your relationship.
You can also ask the police and the prosecutor dealing with your case to delete your name and other personal details from the case file before presenting it to other participants in the proceedings. If the crime you have suffered from was a sexual offence this information will be removed from the case file, even without a specific request by you.
What services and assistance can I be given during the investigation of the crime?
If you are a victim of violence, threat or a sexual offence and you are expected to appear in court as a witness you will be provided with a contact person from the local police station or prosecution office to assist you when you contact the police or the public prosecution.
Irrespective of the crime you have suffered from you can use the services provided by the Victims Counselling Service. The police will explain to you how to get in contact with the Victims Counselling Services.
If you are a victim of robbery, violence or a sexual offence and you have used the assistance of a psychologist you have the right to be reimbursed for part of your expenses for up to 12 consultations.
You can receive medical services free of charge if you have a valid health insurance. Citizens of the 27 EU Member States, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland can benefit from the European Health Insurance Card.
Are there opportunities to reach settlement/conciliation or to start mediation between the offender and myself?
In the course of the investigation the police may suggest that you to reconcile with the offender. This means that the offender has confessed the commitment of the crime and is willing to reconcile with you. The outcome of the conciliation procedure will not stop the investigation but may subsequently lead to a lighter penalty for the offender.
How will my case continue after the end of the investigation?
After the completion of the investigation the police or the public prosecutor in charge of your case will decide how to proceed further. If sufficient evidence has been collected to bring charges against the offender the case will be sent to the competent court for a trial. Otherwise the police or the public prosecutor will close the case at this stage.
Can I appeal if my case is closed without reaching the court?
The police or the public prosecutor may decide to close the case without bringing it to court. In this case you will receive a notification and will also be allowed to check the entire documentation of the case. You have the right to appeal against the decision to close the case.
- If the police have closed the case you can submit your appeal to the regional public prosecutor.
- If the decision to close the investigation was made by a regional public prosecutor, it can be appealed before the Director of Public Prosecutions (the head of the Danish Prosecution Service).
The deadline for submitting the appeal is four weeks.
I am a foreigner. How are my rights and interests protected?
If you are a foreigner you have all the rights described above. If you do not speak Danish you can report a crime in a language you understand. The police are obliged to undertake the necessary measures to accept your report irrespective of the language you use.
During the investigation you will be provided with an interpreter free of charge. The interpreter will assist you during your interview as a witness. The documents related to your interview will also be translated for you free of charge.
- Administration of Justice Act (Lovbekendtgørelse nr. 1053 af 29/10/2009 Retsplejeloven) – in Danish
- Act on the Police (Lov nr. 444 af 09.06.2004 Politiloven) – in Danish
- Penal Code (Lov nr. 1034 af 29.10.2009 Straffeloven) – in Danish
- Act No. 467 of 12.06.2009 on legal advice in connection with a criminal offense (Lov nr. 467 af 12.06.2009 om konfliktråd i anledning af en strafbar handling) – in Danish
- Executive Order No. 1108 of 21 September 2007 (Bekendtgørelse nr. 1108 af 21.09.2007 om politiets og anklagemyndighedens pligt til at vejlede og orientere forurettede i straffesager og til at udpege en kontaktperson for forurettede) – in Danish
- Circular Letter No. 10094 of 22.12.2006 amending the system of counselling services (Cirkulæreskrivelse 10094 af 22/12-2006 om ændring af ordningen med offerrådgivningen) – in Danish
- Decree No. 674 of 26.06.2008 on subsidies for psychological treatment of particularly vulnerable groups (Bekendtgørelse nr. 674 af 26.06.2008 om tilskud til psykologbehandling i praksissektoren for særligt udsatte persongrupper) – in Danish
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Last update: 13/08/2019