If I am a witness

Witnesses are important and help solve crimes. They give the police and the prosecutor important information on what might have happened when, where and how. As a witness, I can file a police report myself or I may be interviewed by the police.

I can find information on how to file a police report myself here

If I was not interviewed as a witness immediately after the crime, I will receive a written summons which will be sent to my home. A written summons contains a time and place for my interview, as well as any documents I may need to bring with me. I can contact the agency that has sent the summons in-person, by phone or by e-mail if I want to change the date of my interview. My employer is required to give me time off to give a witness statement.

Before my interview, I will be informed of my rights and obligations as a witness.

I have the right to refuse to give a witness statement if:

  • I am or was married to, engaged to or in a registered partnership with the accused, including if the relationship has ended
  • I am closely related to the accused (including by marriage)

I can refuse to answer questions if this would be putting myself or the persons indicated above at risk of being prosecuted for a crime or other offence.

Persons under the age of 18 may only be questioned as witnesses if they themselves wish to make a statement and provided their parent(s), guardian(s) or legal representative(s) consent. A witness statement may be recorded as video and audio.

The information I provide about the case must be the truth, otherwise I may risk incriminating myself.

At the start of the interview, I will be asked to give my first name, surname, date and place of birth, and home address which will be noted in the statement. I must answer these questions. If I am particularly at risk, i.e. if the so-called “minor victim protection” applies, I may provide another address where I can be contacted that is not my home address. If I am afraid of the perpetrator, I can also contact a support organisation.

I can find a list of organisations offering support here