Special information if you have been a victim of rape or other sexual assault

Special information if you have been a victim of rape or other sexual assault

Reporting the crime

If you have been the victim of crime, you need to report it to the police. You have to go to a police station in person to report the crime if you have been sexually assaulted. The police may also take your report at the scene of the crime.

It is important to report the crime as soon as possible after it was committed. It is a good idea to write down your experiences right after they happen – for example about what was said or done or a description of the perpetrator.

You are not required to report the crime to the police, but it may be necessary if you want compensation for the injury or loss you sustained as a result of the offence. Read more about compensation under the Victims Compensation Act here.

The police interview

When you have been the victim of crime, the police will interview you about what happened. The interview will normally take place at the local police station. The police will transcribe your statement in a police report, which you will be allowed to read through and sign. Sometimes the police may have to interview you several times during the investigation.

In connection with an interview, the police may also want you to take part in a photo identification procedure if they are unsure who the perpetrator is. The police will show you a binder of photographs of possible perpetrators to look through to see if you recognise the perpetrator.

Children under the age of 12 who are victims of sexual assault will normally be video-recorded while being interviewed. This means the child’s own explanation is recorded on video. The video may be used as evidence during a potential trial, so the child does not have to testify in court. Read more about video-interviewing children here.

Medical examination

If you have been raped or experienced another similarly serious sexual assault, a doctor may need to examine you. The police will tell you if a medical examination is needed. You will be examined at the hospital casualty department, the Centre for Victims of Rape, or the Centre for Victims of Sexual Abuse by people trained to examine victims of sexual assault. It is up to you whether to consent to an examination, but one is often necessary. 

The doctor's description of your injuries is required as evidence in a potential court case, or if you apply for compensation under the Victims Compensation Act. If a doctor has to examine a child, one of the parents must usually consent to the examination. If you are a parent or relative of children who have been sexually assaulted, you can read more here. If you are under the age of 18 and have been sexually assaulted, you can read more here.

Contact person

If the police expect you to appear in court as a witness, you can be assigned a contact person. You may also be assigned a contact person in other cases if necessary. The contact person, who is either a police officer or a prosecutor, will be able to give you guidance and information about your legal position and about the case.

You can read about the criminal justice process here. In addition, the contact person can tell you about the options for special considerations to be made for you when you testify in court. You can read more about these special considerations here. You can talk to the police about obtaining a contact person.

Legal advocate

If you have been raped or experienced another similarly serious sexual assault, you will be assigned a legal advocate unless you refuse that option. The legal advocate is an attorney who can help you and safeguard your interests throughout the criminal justice process, at no cost to yourself. You will have an opportunity to talk to your legal advocate before the police interview you the first time. In some cases, however, the police may need to ask you questions before you have spoken with your legal advocate. Read more about legal advocates here.

Participation in victim-offender mediation

As a victim, you can sometimes choose to participate in victim-offender mediation. Victim-offender mediation is a meeting between you and the offender in which you can talk to the offender in a secure environment about what happened and how it has affected you.

The offender can explain his or her thoughts about the crime. Participation in the meeting is voluntary for you as well as for the offender. Victim-offender mediation is only possible if the offender has admitted his or her guilt. A specially trained mediator will be present. The police assess whether a case is suitable for mediation. If you are interested in participating in victim-offender mediation, you can also suggest it to the police yourself.

Victim-offender mediation does not replace court proceedings, and the offender will still be punished. You can read more about this on the website of the Victim-Offender Mediation Secretariat or on the police's website.

Notice about release

In some cases, you can ask the police to notify you when the perpetrator has finished serving his or her sentence or is released on probation. This is particularly relevant in cases of gross violence or sexual assault. You can also ask the police to inform you about the perpetrator's first authorised temporary unaccompanied leave from prison. 

For you to receive this information, the perpetrator must have been remanded in custody prior to conviction. Your legal advocate or the police can tell you more about your options. 

Other help options

If you need advice or guidance in addition to what the police, the prosecution service, or your legal advocate gives you, there are several places you can contact.

Victim Support Denmark can put you in contact with professionals who can offer various types of advice and guidance. You can also contact this service if you need to talk to someone anonymously. Every police district has a Victim Support service. You can find addresses and read more at www.offerraadgivning.dk/om/english.

You can also seek advice and guidance at the Centre for Victims of Rape.

Your local authority can also help if you need support as a result of a crime committed against you. In some cases, your own doctor can refer you to a psychologist.