Help and support
A victim of a crime may need medical assistance or other social welfare and healthcare services, such as emergency social services, hospital treatment and physical and mental rehabilitation. The victim may use these services under the same conditions as all the other clients.
Many organisations also provide support, advice and guidance for crime victims. Victim Support Finland provides assistance in connection with all kinds of offences and criminal proceedings, and they also provide guidance that is necessary for the victim to be able to exercise his or her rights. Victims of intimate partner violence may seek protection and support in shelters. In some municipalities, there is special support available for immigrant women and victims of sex offences. There also exists a separate assistance system for victims of human trafficking. The victims may be admitted to the system under certain conditions.
If the victim consents to it, the police or another criminal investigation authority may forward his or her contact details to the assistance system, which then contacts him or her.
Contact details of the key support services can be found at https://oikeus.fi/en
The victim may have a support person to assist him or her at the different stages of criminal proceedings. The victim himself or herself may choose the support person. Victim Support Finland provides trained support persons free of charge. Support persons are allowed to be present during questionings and trial, but their presence may be restricted in some situations.
The victim has the right to have a legal counsel to assist him or her when reporting an offence, being questioned and attending a trial. The legal counsel may be a private advocate, a public legal aid attorney working at a state legal aid office or a licensed legal counsel.
Low- and middle-income earners may have a possibility to be granted legal aid at the expense of the State. In that case, the fee of the counsel is paid either in part or in full by the State. Legal aid can be applied for at legal aid offices or via the e-services of the judicial administration (www.oikeus.fi/oikeusapu). The victim may also request a law office to apply for legal aid on his or her behalf.
The legal aid office will examine the financial circumstances of the applicant. Legal aid includes, for example, counselling and assistance at the trial. Legal aid can be applied for and granted at any stage of the proceedings.
The court may under certain conditions appoint a legal counsel or a support person for a victim, if the case concerns intimate partner violence, sex offence or a serious offence against life, health or liberty. In that case, the State pays the counsel's or support person's fee irrespective of the victim's income.
Further information is available at www.oikeus.fi/oikeusapu/en.
Everyone has the right to use Finnish or Swedish during a criminal investigation and court proceedings. The Saamis have the right to use the Saami language in their homeland. The authorities must provide interpretation when necessary.
A victim speaking any other language has the right to use a language he or she masters in all situations related to the investigation of the offence. When necessary, the authorities must arrange interpretation to a language the victim masters. The interpreter is subject to the non-disclosure obligation. The interpreter's fee is paid by the State.
The victim may request to receive a translation of certain key documents. An oral translation may be provided if it is not necessary, with regard to the legal safeguards for the victim, to provide a written translation of the document. In some cases, only a part or a summary of the document may be translated for the victim. During the criminal investigation, the victim has the right to receive a translation of a written confirmation of the report of an offence, a decision to discontinue the criminal investigation and, where necessary, of another document essential in the case. From the prosecutor, the victim may obtain a translation of a decision not to prosecute. At the court, the victim may receive a translation of the judgment, a notice concerning the time and place of the trial and, where necessary, of another document essential in the case.