​​​​​​​​​​​The rights and freedoms that people have in Sweden are principally protected by three fundamental laws: the Instrument of Government, the Freedom of the Press Act and the Fundamental Law on Freedom of Expression. The Instrument of Government establishes that public power shall be exercised with respect for the equal worth of all and the liberty and dignity of the individual.


The Riksdag governs the courts through laws. But the courts are neutral and independent of the Riksdag, the Government and other public authorities.

A person who has been accused of a crime is entitled to have their case heard by a court. The person is regarded as innocent until the court decides otherwise.

How the police and the courts deal with crimes

A crime is when someone does something that is punishable by law. It you have been the victim of a crime, you have to report this to the police.

The police investigate what has happened. They may, for example, hold interviews, look at the crime scene and carry out a technical investigation. This is called a preliminary investigation. The police or a prosecutor carries out the preliminary investigation.

The police or the prosecutor can decide to close a preliminary investigation, i.e. to not go further with it. This happens when there is not enough evidence, for example.

If the preliminary investigation continues, the prosecutor can decide to prosecute someone for the crime. This means that there will be a trial in the district court.

The task of the court is to see whether the prosecutor can prove that the person who has been prosecuted has really committed the crime alleged by the prosecutor.

Responsibility as a parent

Swedish law (the Children and Parents Code) says that children are entitled to nursing and care, security and a good upbringing. In Sweden there is a ban on using physical and mental violence in bringing up a child. Physical violence means all forms of violence used against the body. Mental violence is all ways of threatening, scaring, controlling or violating another person. This law is called the anti-spanking law and it has been in force in Sweden since 1979.​ 

The police

If you want to ask the police anything or tell them about a crime, you have to call 114 14. The number is the same everywhere in Sweden.

This site contains information about the Swedish society and is run by the County Administrative Boards of Sweden
© Copyright 2016 County Administrative Board of Västra Götaland

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