You have the right to live a life free from any form of violence
Unfortunately, violence does occur in our society and it is part of many people’s everyday lives. If you have been exposed to violence or sexual abuse, you have the right to get help and support. You have this right no matter who the perpetrator is, even if it is someone you know. It is important to always remember that the perpetrator is the one who is responsible for what happened; it is never your fault.
Many have fallen victim to men’s violence against women, violence in close relationships, honour-related violence, sexual abuse and harassment. Most often, the perpetrator is someone that is close to the victim, such as a family member or current or former partner.
People who experience violence or abuse can face tremendous limitations and suffering, and violence can result in severe psychological and physical harm. You have the right to live a life free from any form of violence and oppression. There are people who can help, and the first step is to talk to someone you trust or a government authority that can help you.
Different types of violence
Violence can take many different forms, and you can be exposed to several forms of violence at the same time We will explain the different types of violence below. When we discuss violence at the Swedish Social Insurance Agency, we base it on the following:
Physical violence can be pushing/shoving, kicking, punching, strangulation, restraint or striking with a weapon. Passive, physical violence can be that one person exposes another person to an act of violence that has physical consequences, such as denying someone sleep.
Verbal abuse, threats, isolation, blackmail or control that gradually cause a victim to break down psychologically.
Psychological violence can also be the indirect threat of suicide or a threat directed at another close relative.
Sexual violence involves forcing someone to engage in or witness sexual acts against their will. This may involve rape, but it can also be sexual harassment (for example, unwelcome touching). Exchanging money or other compensation for sexual services is always illegal, as it involves the exploitation of another person. This applies regardless of the amount or form of compensation.
Material abuse means that the perpetrator misuses a person’s property, or destroys or forces the victim to destroy property of special importance. Violence directed against pets is also considered to be material abuse.
Financial abuse may be that someone controls how a partner can use his or her own money or does not allow the partner to have any of his or her own money. It can also be that the perpetrator forces the partner to take out a loan, takes controls of the victim’s finances and material assets to increase isolation, vulnerability and to make the victim financially dependent.
Neglect may be that the victim does not receive the help he or she needs in terms of food, medicine or hygiene. More specifically, neglect may be not getting help to get out of bed or being given the wrong medication dosage.
Latent violence means that there is a continuous fear or worry of violence. It can be anger or aggression that manifests itself in the perpetrator’s posture and body language, which creates fear and is perceived to be a threat or reminds the victim of previous experiences of violence.
Help and support for victims of violence, threats or sexual abuse
You are not alone. There are a lot of people you can turn to for help and support to improve your situation or to help you cope with something that has happened.
You are always welcome to contact social services in the municipality where you are registered. The interventions that social services offers to victims of violence can vary, but most municipalities provide counselling, support meetings and financial assistance. Social services can also arrange contact with local crisis centres and assist with temporary sheltered housing.
Health and medical care
The Healthcare Guide 1177 has information for those who have been exposed to violence in close relationships.
The Swedish Police
Always ring 112 if you need emergency assistance.
The Swedish Police information page on crimes in close relationships.
Information for those exposed to violence and those who want to learn more about honour-related violence and oppression.
For people who are employed or work as volunteers and need advice and consultation on issues related to honour-related violence and oppression, there is a support number: 010 - 223 57 60.
Kvinnofridslinjen – Sweden’s National Women’s Helpline
The national helpline offers help and advice, ranging from emotional to practical support and signposting to other services that can help. The helpline is open 24 hours a day and provide support to all callers, regardless if you are affected by any form of gendered/violence and abuse or calling on behalf of a relative or friend. You can remain anonymous on the call. The phone call is free and will not be shown on the telephone bill. However, kindly note that you need to delete the number from your call list if you do not want the helpline number to show on your recent calls.
Telephone number: 020 - 50 50 50.
Victim support guide
Guide for those who are the victim of a crime.
Brottsofferjouren – Victim Support Sweden
Offers support to those who are the victim of a crime.
Offers information for those exposed to honour-related violence and oppression.
Jourhavande medmänniska (on-call volunteers when you need someone to talk to)
A volunteer organisation that offers support via chat and telephone.
Roks – The National Organisation for Women’s Shelters and Young Women's Shelters
Roks and Unizon have crisis centres (shelters) around the country that offer support for women and young girls.
Q-jouren crisis centre
For women exposed to violence who have experienced abuse and been subject to prostitution. At Qjouren, there is no requirement that a woman who is seeking support, protection and information about her rights needs to be drug free.
RFSL – The Swedish Federation for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and Intersex Rights’ support service
For LGBTQI people who have been exposed to harassment, threats or violence.
National Association for the Prevention of Incest and Other Childhood Sexual Abuse
For women who have been sexually abused in childhood.
Rikskriscentrum – National Association of Swedish Crisis Centres for Men
An umbrella organisation for operations that work to provide support to men in crisis. Here you can find contact information for crisis centres for men around the country.
Crisis line for women with a foreign background. The call will not show up on your phone bill. But remember that if you do not want the phone number to show in the list of recently dialled numbers, you will need to delete the number from the list yourself.
Telephone number: 020 - 52 10 10.
Tris is a support line for those who are exposed to honour-related violence and oppression.