1 - My rights during the investigation of a crime
How and where can I report a crime?
If you have suffered from a crime or otherwise learn that a crime has been committed you can report the offence to the police or the public prosecutor. You can do this by:
- going to the nearest police station or public prosecutor’s office;
- sending a written report by post;
- calling on the telephone;
- submitting an electronic report through the Electronic Public Services Portal.
If you choose to submit a written report you can sign it, but it is not obligatory. Anonymous reports are also accepted. For oral reports and reports made by phone, the police or the public prosecutor will draft a written record. You do not have to sign this record.
There is no obligatory template for reporting a crime and there are no specific requirements as to what information you have to include in the report. A brief description of the incident will be sufficient (e.g. when and where did it happen, how, who was the offender or how did he/she look like, what was stolen, what are the damages, etc.). If you have any relevant evidence you can present it when you report the crime.
If you do not speak Slovenian you can report the crime in any language you understand. The public prosecutor or the police will provide you with an interpreter free of charge, if necessary.
There is no deadline for reporting a crime. However, if you report the crime after a certain period of time specified in the law the authorities may not start an investigation.
Some less serious crimes are prosecuted only if you report them to the public prosecutor or start a private prosecution yourself by filing a complaint directly to the court. For these crimes there is a deadline. You have to file a report or complaint within three months after you learn about the crime and the offender.
How can I follow up on what the authorities do after I report a crime?
If the public prosecutor finds that there are no grounds to prosecute for a criminal offence that you reported, he/she has to instruct you that you may start the prosecution by yourself. In such case, you can start the prosecution within eight days from the day you received this notice.
You can also check what has been done on your report by asking the police officer in charge of your case.
How can I be involved in the investigation of the crime?
When you report the crime, the public prosecutor or the police officer may ask you additional questions to clarify some details of the incident. This is not a formal interrogation. Nevertheless, a lawyer or another person you trust can accompany you if you wish. If you want a lawyer to come with you, you have to pay for his/her services. Legal aid free of charge is available at a later stage.
When the public prosecutor decides to start an investigation he/she will send the case to an investigative judge. The investigative judge will send you a written invitation for each investigative action you are allowed to attend. In the invitation you will find information about the time and place of the investigative action. The investigative judge will also explain to you what rights you have during the investigation.
As a victim you can:
- examine the case file together with the collected evidence (the investigative judge may refuse to allow you to examine the case file before you are interviewed as a witness);
- suggest the performance of specific investigative actions;
- attend certain investigative actions (you can attend the examination of the crime scene, the questioning of experts and the interviews of witnesses that will not be interviewed again during the trial but you cannot attend the questioning of the offender and the examination of premises);
- ask questions, with the permission of the investigative judge, during the investigative actions you are allowed to attend;
- appeal before the presiding judge of the court against delays of other irregularities during the investigation.
To benefit from your rights as a victim you do not need to file any formal requests to join the proceedings.
You are not obliged to prove anything related to the crime. Only when the crime is prosecuted upon your complaint to the court will you have to prove the crime and the guilt of the alleged offender.
During the investigation you can (but you are not obliged to) have a lawyer. If you wish to have a lawyer you have to pay for his/her services. Alternatively, you can apply for legal aid if your financial situation does not allow you to cover the lawyer’s fee.
What are my rights as a witness?
If you are called for an interview as a witness during the investigation you have to appear before the investigative judge and answer his/her questions. The investigative judge will warn you that you have to tell the truth and not hide information.
You can refuse to be interviewed if:
- you are keeping an official or military secret;
- you are a relative to the offender (spouse, partner, parent, grandparent, child, grandchild or another close relative); or
- you are not allowed to share information you have learned while exercising your profession (e.g. you are a doctor and the offender is your patient).
In addition, you can refuse to respond to individual questions if your answers may disgrace or harm you or may result in criminal prosecution against you or your close relatives.
Before the interview, the investigative judge will explain to you when you can refuse to answer individual questions and when you can refuse to be interviewed at all.
If you cannot appear before the investigative judge because of illness or some other serious reason, the investigative judge can perform the interview at the place you live. If you have hearing or speaking impairments your interview will be conducted in writing or a special interpreter will be called to assist you.
When you are interviewed as a witness you can ask for reimbursement of the expenses you have made. Reimbursement may cover travel expenses, expenses for food and accommodation, and expenses related to taking day(s) off from work or the loss of profit. You have to request reimbursement immediately after your interview.
I am a minor. Do I have additional rights?
If you are a child and you have been called for an interview, a teacher or another qualified expert can be present to assist you. If you are a minor (under 18 years of age) a person you trust can accompany you and assist you during the entire investigation. This person can also be present during your interview.
Depending on the crime, if a lawyer has assisted you during the proceedings you may receive reimbursement for the fee you have paid for his/her services.
If you are child victim of a sexual offence, cruel treatment or human trafficking you must have an authorised person to assist you throughout the proceedings. If you do not choose such a person yourself the court will assign a lawyer to perform this function.
If you are an under age victim of domestic violence the authorities are not allowed to publicly disclose any information that may reveal your identity irrespective of your parents’ consent.
What information can I obtain from police or victim support organisations during the investigation of the crime?
When you report a crime you can ask the police officer or the public prosecutor to give you more information about the procedure that follows and about the assistance you can receive as a victim. You can also consult the leaflets for victims of crime available at the police stations.
Can I receive legal aid?
You can apply for free legal aid if you are:
- a Slovenian citizen permanently residing in Slovenia;
- a foreigner permanently or temporarily residing in Slovenia; or
- a foreigner entitled to legal aid under international law (you can ask the police officer/public prosecutor if you fall under this category)
You can receive legal aid free of charge if you wish to have a lawyer but your financial situation does not allow you to pay for his/her services.
To receive legal aid you have to submit an application to the court. You do not have to provide any information about your income. The authorities that will decide on your application will collect this information from the available official records.
If you are victim of family violence you can receive legal aid free of charge irrespective of your financial situation. You need to prove that you are victim of domestic violence by presenting a certificate issued by the local Social Work Centre.
How can I get protection, if I am in danger?
If the offender is a dangerous person and may affect the criminal procedure by influencing you as a witness or if there is a risk that the offender can commit another crime he/she will be arrested and placed in detention during the proceedings.
If you are victim of violent crime you can ask the police officer to issue a restraining order banning the offender from approaching and contacting you. If the offender lives with you (e.g. in cases of domestic violence) the police officer will ask him/her to leave and will take his/her keys. The ban can last for a maximum period of ten days but you can ask the judge to extend it to up to 60 days. If the offender does not comply with the restraining order he/she will be fined.
If you are a witness and you are afraid that the disclosure of your identity could endanger your life or health or the life or health of your relatives or other persons close to you, you can ask the investigative judge to keep your identity secret. The investigative judge can undertake the following measures:
- deletion of your personal data from the case file;
- protection of your personal data as official secret;
- issuance of court order banning the offender and his/her lawyer to disclose certain facts;
- assignment of a pseudonym;
- conduct of your interview using technical devices (protective screen, devices for disguising the voice, transmission of sound from separate premises and other similar technical devices).
If you are afraid that keeping your identity secret would not be enough to protect you, you can apply for special protection measures. Special protection measures apply only in if you are victim of a very serious crime such as kidnapping, drug trafficking, etc.
The special protection measures may include:
- physical protection;
- relocation, including relocation abroad;
- new ID documents;
- restricted access to your personal data;
- non-disclosure of your identity;
- change of identity;
- interview via video conference and phone conference;
- financial and social support.
If you are victim of domestic violence, authorities are not allowed to publicly disclose any information that may reveal your identity. Such information can be disclosed only with your consent. You can ask the judge to ban the offender from approaching your home or other places you visit frequently (e.g. your workplace, your school, etc.) and from contacting you by means of communication such as telephone, e-mail, etc. You can also ask the judge to remove the offender from your common place of living for a period of up to six months (with a possible extension for six more months). In the latter case you may be requested to pay compensation to the offender for the period he/she is obliged to live elsewhere. These measures are not related to the criminal proceedings. You can request their application irrespective of whether there is a criminal investigation or not.
If you are victim of human trafficking and you are residing in Slovenia without permission you can ask the police to allow you to remain in the country for up to three months (with a possible extension for three more months).
What services and assistance can I be given during the investigation of the crime?
You can get medical help from medical institutions but you have to pay for it unless it is covered by your insurance. You can add the amount paid for medical or psychological assistance to your civil claim. Citizens of the 27 EU Member States, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland can benefit from the European Health Insurance Card.
You can receive psychological support and other services from the local Social Work Centre or from specialised non-governmental organisations.
If you are victim of domestic violence you can choose another person to help you during the proceedings. This person is called “victim’s assistant” and can be anybody you trust.
Are there opportunities to reach settlement/conciliation or to start mediation between the offender and myself?
In the course of the investigation the public prosecutor may invite you and the offender to participate in a mediation procedure. During this procedure you will meet with the offender in the presence of a mediator in an attempt to reach an agreement on your case. Mediation is possible only for less serious crimes (crimes punished by a fine or imprisonment of up to three years or other specific crimes in special circumstances). Mediation is a voluntary procedure and can take place only if both you and the offender agree to participate. If the procedure is successful and you reconcile with the offender the case will be closed.
The public prosecutor can also ask for your consent to temporarily suspend the case and give the offender the opportunity to rectify what he/she has caused with the crime (e.g. to eliminate or compensate the damage, to engage in community work, make a contribution to a charity or fund for crime victims, etc.). This can happen only if you are a victim of a less serious crime (crime punished by a fine or imprisonment of up to three years or other specific crimes in special circumstances). If you agree with the public prosecutor’s proposal the offender will be instructed in what he/she must do and will be provided with a deadline for complying with the instructions. If the offender complies with the instructions within the specified time limit the case will be closed.
How will my case continue after the end of the investigation?
At the end of the investigation the investigative judge will send the case to the public prosecutor. The public prosecutor will examine the collected evidence and will bring the case to court or close it. When the public prosecutor brings the case to court, the court will also examine the evidence and may decide to start a trial or in specific circumstances close the case. The case can also be closed if the public prosecutor withdraws the charges before the first court hearing.
Can I appeal if my case is closed without reaching the court?
If the public prosecutor closes the case before bringing it to court or withdraws the charges before the first court hearing, you will receive a notification that you case has been closed. You cannot appeal against the closing of the case, but you can continue the proceedings yourself. The notification you will receive will contain information about how you can continue the proceedings. If you wish to continue the proceedings yourself you have to do it within eight days after you receive the notification informing you about the closing of your case.
If the public prosecutor brings the case to court but the judge decides to close it without starting a trial you will receive a notification. You can appeal against the court’s decision within eight days after you receive the notification. If your appeal is successful there are two possible options:
- if only you have appealed against the decision, you will be allowed to continue the proceedings yourself;
- if the public prosecutor has also appealed against the decision the proceedings will continue as if the case has never been closed.
I am a foreigner. How are my rights and interests protected?
If you are a foreigner you can benefit from the rights listed above. You also have additional rights to facilitate your participation in the investigation.
If you do not speak Slovenian you can use any language you understand. An interpreter free of charge will be provided to assist you when you attend investigative actions. Documents and other pieces of evidence will also be translated for you free of charge.
- Criminal Procedure Act (Zakon o kazenskem postopku) – in Slovenian
- Penal Code (Kazenski zakon) – in English and Slovenian
- Police Act (Zakon o policiji) – in English and Slovenian
- Family Violence Act (Zakon o preprečevanju nasilja v družini) – in English and Slovenian
- Witness Protection Act (Zakon o zaščiti prič) – in Slovenian
- Aliens Act (Zakon o tujcih) – in English and Slovenian
- Free Legal Aid Act (Zakon o brezplačni pravni pomoči) – in Slovenian
- Regulations on the Recovery of Costs in Criminal Proceedings (Pravilnik o povrnitvi stroškov v kazenskem postopku) – in Slovenian
The national language version of this page is maintained by the respective Member State. The translations have been done by the European Commission service. Possible changes introduced in the original by the competent national authority may not be yet reflected in the translations. The European Commission accepts no responsibility or liability whatsoever with regard to any information or data contained or referred to in this document. Please refer to the legal notice to see copyright rules for the Member State responsible for this page.
Last update: 23/02/2018