Witness Support Service in Sweden


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Anna Sigfridsson, project manager, CVCSA

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  • Brottsoffermyndigheten
  • Brottsoffermyndigheten
  • Brottsoffermyndigheten
  • Brottsoffermyndigheten
  • Brottsoffermyndigheten
  • Brottsoffermyndigheten
  • Witness Support Service in Sweden

    1. 1. Witness Support Servicein Sweden Zagreb, November 28-29, 2012 Anna Sigfridsson, project manager CVCSA 1
    2. 2. Short historic overview1971 Compensation for personal injury1978 The Criminal Injuries Compensation Act1988 Criminal injuries compensation for gross violation of personal integrity Right to counsel for the injured party1994 The Crime Victim Compensation and Support Authority+Crime Victim Fund Right to information on Crime Victim Rights Right to support person during the preliminary investigation and trial1998 Gross violation of womens integrity2000 Special legal representation for children2006 The right to state compensation for children witnessing violence in close relationships2011 Commission on Criminal Injuries Compensation Act 2
    3. 3. The Crime Victim Compensation and Support Authority (CVCSA)Overall objective:Acts for the interest and needs of Crime VictimsThree national responsibilities• Criminal Injuries Compensation• The Crime Victim Fund• Centre of CompetenceEstablished in 1994, subordinate to the Ministry of JusticeStaff – about 50 persons, located in Umeå 3
    4. 4. The Crime Victim Fund• Established in 1994• Financed by convicted offenders•Economic support to activities and research• Political standpoint: offenders shouldcontribute to a better situation for crime victims• Fee: 500 SEK (58 EUR) or 50 SEK up to amaximum of 6 000 SEK (electronic supervision)• Revenue: 30-35 million SEK (3,5-4,1mn EUR)• Applications: about 140 million SEK per year(16,3 mn EUR) 4
    5. 5. Centre of CompetenceSeminars, presentations, training for professionals, informationmaterial. Websites:Brottsoffermyndigheten.se, Courtintroduction.se 5
    6. 6. In the Swedish criminal justice procedure…Police/prosecutor must inform the victim on:• Possibilities to claim for damages within the criminal justice process• Possibilities of assistance by a support person or a counsel for the injured party• Possibilities to a visiting/contact ban• Organisations providing help and support 6
    7. 7. What is Witness Support Service?• Volunteers• At court: in the waiting room and in separate witness support service rooms• Mainly before and after the hearing• Gives practical help, information and emotional support• Primarily to victims and witnesses 7
    8. 8. Background• Started 1995 by a local Victim Support organisation in Växjö (southern Sweden)• Governmental commission in 2001: Establish witness support service. The Crime Victim Compensation and Support Authority and the National Courts Administration work together with Victim Support Sweden• New commission in 2006: Make sure that there are witness support service in all district courts and courts of appeal• Report to the Government in 2008, what has been done and suggestions for the future 8
    9. 9. Witness support service now• Coordinator in all places, employed in 53 % of the organisations, on a volunteer basis in 47 %• Training programme and material approved by the Authority and/or Victim Support Sweden• Programme: criminal justice procedure, other actors’ roles, reactions to crime, practical issues, promise of silence, practical training at court 9
    10. 10. The Authority’s role and responsibility• Producing training material• Assuring equal quality around Sweden• Training of coordinators• Yearly mapping of service and courts• Forming and reviewing of national outlines 10
    11. 11. How does Witness Support Service help?• Better information to victims and witnesses about court proceedings, makes them calmer and reduces stress• Better prepared witnesses and victims means they can give better statements – improves the quality of the hearing• Improved hearings – improved legal security• Better treatment of victims and witnesses results in a higher opinion of the criminal justice system among the public 11
    12. 12. Financing from the CV Fund• Main finanicer of Victim Support Sweden and witness support services around the country• Core financing to local Victim Support centres• Project money, for example for coordination of witness support service in largest courts and for recruiting and training of volunteers• witness support service grant for costs for volunteers, lunch, travel costs, small tokens of appreciation 12
    13. 13. Thanks for listening! Anna Sigfridsson Project Manager Witness Support Service Tel. + 46 90-70 82 44anna.sigfridsson@brottsoffermyndigheten.se www.brottsoffermyndigheten.se www.courtintroduction.se 13