If someone dies as a result of a criminal act, the next of kin have some of the same rights that victims have.

You can get more information from the police or at the office for advice and compensation to victims of crime, (kontoret for voldsoffererstatning) tel. no. +47 78989500. At the website of the National Courts Administration, you can find information about the courts, including court proceedings, the officers of the court, standard of proof, etc.

Right to information from the police

If you are the victim of a criminal act and report it to the police, the police have a duty to inform you of your rights as a victim or next of kin. In many cases, the police also have a duty to keep you informed of developments and how the case progresses.

Lawyer and free legal advice for victims

If you are the victim of sexual abuse, family violence, human trafficking, genital mutilation, forced marriage or violations of a restraining order, you may have a right to a free consultation with a lawyer to get help to decide whether to report the matter to the police.

If you report such a matter, you will have a right to a lawyer. You may also have right to a lawyer if you are the victim of other crimes and have suffered significant physical or mental injury, or if there are other important reasons why you should receive help.

The lawyer will protect your interests during the investigation and prosecution of the matter. The lawyer will also help you make a demand for compensation.

Your rights during the investigation

You have no duty to tell the police anything. If you choose to let the police interview you, you can bring someone you trust. As a victim or next of kin, you normally have a right to read the documents of the case.

In cases involving family violence and sexual crimes, you have a right to be informed if someone is in custody for the crime and also if they are released.

If you are afraid that the perpetrator will attack you again, they can in some cases be banned from seeking you out and you can be given a personal attack alarm. You can find out more about this from the police or your lawyer.

The results of the investigation

If the prosecuting authority believes that there is sufficient evidence to convict a suspect (see below), that person will be indicted for trial, and the case will be sent to court. In less serious cases, the prosecutor may decide not to bring criminal charges and impose a fine instead. The case can also be transferred to the Conflict Resolution Board if both the victim and the perpetrator agree. If the evidence is not strong enough, the case is closed.

You will be told if the case is closed, an indictment is issued or if the perpetrator has been fined and agreed to pay compensation to you. If you have reported a crime, you will also be told if a decision is made not to bring criminal charges.

Right to appeal

If the case is closed, you can appeal the decision to the Public Prosecutors' Office or the Director of Public Prosecutions. The appeal must be sent within three weeks after you have been told that the case was closed. Certain other decisions made by the prosecuting authority can be appealed, for instance the choice of the penal provision(s) applied in the indictment or a decision not to bring criminal charges.

The trial

A prosecutor will present the case on behalf of the prosecuting authority. In order for the defendant to be convicted and sentenced, it must be proven beyond all reasonable doubt that he or she is guilty.

All criminal cases begin in the district court, which is the local court. You will normally be summoned to the trial and have a right to be present throughout it. You can also claim remuneration for your attendance. As a victim, you will normally have to testify in court, even if you have previously made a statement to the police. In some cases, you can request that the defendant be ordered to leave the room or that public access be restricted when you testify. If you are closely related to the defendant, you do not have to testify.

Many courts offer aid and support for witnesses. The police or your lawyer will be able to tell you more about this.

The defendant and the prosecuting authority may both appeal the verdict of the district court to the court of appeal. The court of appeal can decide not to hear appeals about minor offences.

In the most serious cases, the court of appeal will hear the case with a jury. The jury will then be made up of ten lay judges, ordinary citizens with no professional legal training, who will decide whether the defendant is guilty as charged.

When the verdict has been passed

When a verdict has been passed, the prosecuting authority will decide whether to appeal. However, you can state whether or not you would like to see the verdict appealed.

If your claim for compensation was dealt with during the trial, you can choose to appeal this part of the decision, even if the verdict is not appealed. If the perpetrator is sentenced to imprisonment, you may have a right to be notified each time the perpetrator is given prison leave or when he or she is released.

Compensation

You may be entitled to compensation from the perpetrator. If the case is prosecuted and goes to trial, your claim for compensation can normally be decided during the trial. If you have a lawyer, he or she will make the claim on your behalf. If not, the prosecuting authority will do so. It is important that you talk to the police about this, as you have to document the claim you make.

If you are awarded compensation during the trial, the Norwegian National Collection Agency can help you collect the money.

You may be entitled to criminal injuries compensation from the Norwegian government. If the case is prosecuted and goes to trial, you can only receive criminal injuries compensation if the claim for compensation was made during the trial. The police, your lawyer or the Norwegian Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority can provide more information on how to get such compensation.

Information folder

On the web page of the Women's Refuge Secretariat you will find the information folder "Your legal rights if you are the victim of criminal acts in Norway" in many different languages.