This page provides answers to questions frequently asked by victims of domestic violence and by persons assisting them.

  1. How will the police speak to me about a domestic violence incident?


    When you attend a police station to report an incident, a police officer will ask you some questions to determine who will speak to you about the incident. This is usually a police officer having experience of domestic violence cases. The police realise that talking about what happened to you can be distressing, so you can say you prefer to tell everything you intend first. You can ask for a break, a glass of water, and similar at any time. You may ask the police officer for his name. It is vital that you tell him about your needs. The officer will listen to you and make a record of what you say (using a notepad or a computer). He will ask further questions where appropriate. Since domestic violence is closely related to your private and family life, it is important you know the police officer may ask you questions concerning your life (e.g. your children, health, lifestyle, feelings, any criminal record, diseases, family history, sex, abuse of power and control in family, etc.). You may want to have notes to help you organise your ideas. You may ask for a copy of the record if drawn up in your presence; it will be signed by both the police officer and you. Normally, an interview will be held in a separate office to ensure privacy. You will be able to speak to an officer of the same sex if you wish. The police officer will also give you advice. If there is anything unclear, please feel free to ask. You may want to write down relevant information given by the officer or ask him to do that for you. The officer might contact you later to ask further questions if necessary. It is important you are willing to cooperate.

 

What if I can't speak Slovene, or if I am deaf or have speech impairment?
What if an incident happens at night, on a Sunday or on a holiday? 

A police officer will do his best to understand you, so he might ask you some more questions. He may also arrange for an interpreter to facilitate the filing of a report. An interpreter called by the police will come at any time to any place in Slovenia. All translators and interpreters engaged by the police are under a duty of confidence. This means they must keep all information coming to their knowledge confidential and must not disclose it to others. A victim does not bear the cost of an interpreter.

 quick exit

  1. Do I have any rights in a police procedure as a victim?


    Yes. There are a number of rights you can exercise as a victim. You have the right to be informed of the course of the procedure and of your role in the police investigation, the right to receive a copy of a police record of your crime report, the right to lodge an indemnification claim petition against the perpetrator, the right to appeal, the right to use your mother tongue or a language you understand, the right to claim state compensation for victims of violent crime (if you are an EU citizen and the crime was committed in the EU). You also have the right to the following: legal assistance of a counsel, support of a person you trust who may escort and assist you in relevant procedures, information on available options (e.g. measures provided for by the Domestic Violence Prevention Act), on resources and support available to victims of domestic violence, and on governmental and non-governmental agencies providing victim support. You may request to be notified of the commencement and completion of police investigation and to receive such notification at a specified address. You should always be treated with dignity and respect.

 

  1.  Will the police come if I call in the middle of the night or on a holiday, or if they are too busy with other commitments?


    The police take all crime seriously. You can report a violent incident at any time, the police will always respond to your call and take you and your case seriously.

 

  1.  What evidence should I submit to the police? What am I supposed to do?


    The police are responsible for collecting evidence about violence. You can help by giving comprehensive information on all violent incidents. It is important you tell your story because it will serve as a basis of your case. The police will make a record of your statement and ask further questions to facilitate the collection and securing of evidence. If you believe an item, a record or a text message might serve as a piece of evidence, do not hesitate to tell that to the police. Further, give details of any other witnesses who might have any information about the incidents. Help the police to help you. Provide as much information as you can about the abuse and show your willingness to cooperate.

 

I don't want to go to the doctor 

I was hit by a member of my family. I have visible injuries, but I don't want to go to the doctor. Is that all right? 

If you are adult, you are free to decide whether to go to the doctor or not. Medical assistance is normally required for children. A medical report may be of major significance as evidence of domestic violence. The police recommend you see your doctor, all the more so because your condition might worsen, for example, if you were hit on the head (brain concussion, cheekbone fracture, unconsciousness). Photos of your injuries also play an important role; they can be taken by the police with your consent.

  1. When will the perpetrator learn about my report?


    He will be informed of your report during a police investigation, normally at the end of the investigation. It is a good idea to plan how you can protect yourself. A local social work centre or relevant NGOs can help you make your personal safety plan.

 

  1. What will the police do with my report?


    The police will send a case file (i.e. your report, the information and evidence collected and a record of measures carried out by the police) to the District State Prosecutor's Office who will decide how to proceed. Should the police, based on your report, establish a minor offence was committed, they will impose a fine on the perpetrator.

 

  1. May I add anything to my report should I remember any important facts?


    Of course. Contact the police officer handling your case and report new facts. If he is unavailable, write a letter for him and send it to his police station. We suggest you address the letter directly to the police station and specify the name of the officer in the letter to assure he will get the information. If your information is urgent and you are in immediate danger, call 113.

quick exit  

  1. Who should give me information on the status of my case?


    If the case if still investigated by the police, information should be provided by a police officer. If the police have already sent a case file to a state prosecutor, information should only be given by the State Prosecutor's Office, and if the case is already prosecuted in court, information should be given by the court.

 

Refusal to testify 

I am a victim of domestic violence. My case is being prosecuted in court. I was informed I have the right to refuse to testify against the violent family member. What does that mean? 

This is known as a privilege of a witness not to testify. Nobody is obliged to testify against their family members and close relatives. However, a victim's refusal to testify significantly impedes court proceedings and the perpetrator may be acquitted of all domestic violence charges. This does not stop abusers, they continue to be violent or dramatically escalate violence to cause serious injuries or even commit a murder. The police cannot reuse the evidence from discontinued proceedings.

  1. What is the difference between a criminal complaint and a police report submitted to the State Prosecutor's Office?


    A criminal complaint means that the police gathered enough evidence through investigation to confirm a criminal offence was committed. In contrast, a report is an account of an incident and might not include enough evidence to confirm a criminal offence was committed. However, a state prosecutor may ask the police to make further investigations if he believes extra information is needed to complement the report. The state prosecutor considers any account of an incident, drawn up either as a criminal complaint or as a police report, a receipt of a criminal complaint and decides on further action on a case-by-case basis.

 

  1. Can I withdraw the report I filed with the police? What happens if I do that?


    A withdrawal of your report of domestic violence may discontinue the entire investigation of your case. All information and evidence collected by the police until the report's withdrawal (if already presented in court proceedings) cannot be used in the event of repeated violence against you. Although you are free to decide to withdraw the report you filed with the police, we recommend you not to do that. However, if you do want to withdraw you report of domestic violence, you only need to state that at the police station or inform the police in writing. If the police investigation has already been completed, you should notify the District State Prosecutor's Office dealing with your case. If you withdraw your report after the court proceedings commenced (main hearing), you will bear the legal costs, unless the defendant (i.e. perpetrator) states she or he will do so.

 

For further information and advice, visit: