Criminal Injuries Compensation
If the offender is unable to pay and you do not have an insurance that fully covers the injuries, you can in some cases get compensation from the state. Such compensation is known as criminal injuries compensation (brottsskadeersättning).
In what cases may you get criminal injuries compensation?
In order for criminal injuries compensation to be paid out, the crime must always have been reported to the police. If the offender is unknown, there must have been an inquiry, such as a preliminary investigation, which confirms that you have been subjected to a criminal act. If the suspect has been identified, a conviction or a summary imposition of a fine is required in principle.
What can you normally get compensation for?
Criminal injuries compensation is primarily paid out due to personal injuries, which can be both psychological and physical injuries arising from the crime. Some examples of what might be compensated are: expenses for medical treatment; pain and suffering; loss of income; and permanent injuries such as scars or impaired hearing.
Compensation for violation of personal integrity
There are also a number of criminal acts which entitle a person to compensation for violation of personal integrity. The right to this kind of compensation applies when the crime is considered to be a serious violation of your personal integrity, your private life, and human dignity. Almost all cases of sexual assault entitle a person to such compensation. Likewise, this is often the case with assault and violation of the privacy of the home, unlawful threatening, robbery, and a breach of a restraining order.
Compensation for loss of or damage to property
The chances of receiving criminal injuries compensation for loss of or damage to property, or a pure financial loss, are very limited. Such compensation will normally only be paid out if the offender, when he or she committed the crime, was an inmate of a prison, a certain type of institution for the care of young people or substance abusers, or a police arrest cell. Compensation for financial loss or damage to and loss of property may also be paid out in cases where there are particularly distressing circumstances.
Compensation for children who have witnessed violence
The government has a responsibility to compensate children who have witnessed serious criminal acts towards persons close to them. On July 1, 2021, a special crime called violation of a child’s integrity – barnfridsbrott – was introduced in Sweden. This means that exposing a child to witnessing violence in a close relationship is a criminal offence. In cases where the offender cannot pay the injuries and the child cannot receive compensation via insurance, they may, in the same way as other crime victims, have the right to state compensation for criminal injuries.
Children who have witnessed violence in a close relationship before July 1, 2021 cannot claim damages from the offender, but they still have the opportunity to apply for a special criminal injuries compensation. One prerequisite is that the crime would be assumed to harm the child’s confidence and trust in a person with whom he or she has a close relationship.
Application and contact
An application for criminal injuries compensation must be submitted to the Swedish Crime Victim Authority no later than three years after the legal proceedings have been concluded.
Contact the Swedish Crime Victim Authority, the Police, or the Public Prosecution Authority for more information about damages and criminal injuries compensation. You can also visit a victim support centre or women’s shelter for help to fill in the application form.
Repayment from the offenders
In conjunction with paying out criminal injuries compensation, the Swedish Crime Victim Authority also requires the offender to pay back the money, if possible. In short, this means that the offender becomes liable to pay back the money to the authority instead of the crime victim, after the compensation has been paid out.