Last Updated: Thursday, 23 November 2017, 12:01 GMT

Sweden: Follow-up to SWE38492.E of 8 April 2002 on the protection available to women and children who are victims of domestic violence; in particular, information on restraining orders in Sweden

Publisher Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada
Author Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board, Canada
Publication Date 12 June 2002
Citation / Document Symbol SWE39494.E
Reference 5
Cite as Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Sweden: Follow-up to SWE38492.E of 8 April 2002 on the protection available to women and children who are victims of domestic violence; in particular, information on restraining orders in Sweden, 12 June 2002, SWE39494.E, available at: [accessed 24 November 2017]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

Correspondence received 27 May 2002 from a representative of the Ministry of Justice, Stockholm, Sweden, provides information on restraining orders further to that found in SWE38492.E of 8 April 2002. According to the representative:

1. A decision to issue a restraining order is made by a public prosecutor. The person in need of protection could present the issue of a restraining order to the prosecutor. A restraining order could also be initiated by a prosecutor himself, by a police officer or by someone else, for example, a social worker.

2. A restraining order can be issued if there, due to certain circumstances, is a risk that someone will commit a crime towards, stalk, or in other ways seriously harass a person. When deciding if there is such a risk, special attention shall be paid if the person earlier has committed violent crimes towards the person who wants to be protected. Since one of the aims of the restraining orders is crime prevention, an earlier crime towards the person is not a precondition.

3. There should be a risk, which must be considered a pretty low burden of proof.

4. The punishment for not obeying the restraining order is imprisonment for a maximum of one year.

5. The police investigate all cases of domestic violence (Ministry of Justice 27 May 2002).

According to the correspondence, the Ministry of Justice is in the process of drafting a ministerial memo which proposes amendments to the Act on Prohibition of Visiting (1988:688), legislation concerning detention orders which is part of the Code of Judicial Procedure, and family law (ibid.). Proposed amendments are, according to the representative, "a new step in our efforts to strengthen the support to and the protection of women who are battered by men who they live with or have had a close relation to" (ibid.). Changes will be gender neutral, thus providing for the issuance of restraining orders in homosexual relationships, and predicated on the belief that measures aimed at the protection women should not restrict their freedom of movement (ibid.).

Other details of the amendments provided in the correspondence are as follows:

The legal requirements for intensive electronic monitoring of persons who have defied restraining orders is also discussed in the [ministerial] memo. Because we have difficulties "fitting" electronic monitoring into our legal system, there is no proposal for legislative measures in this part. We do, however, present three separate models for how electronic monitoring could be used in connection with restraining orders. This gives the bodies to which the ministerial memo is referred for consideration a chance to reflect on the issue.


[The Act on Prohibition of Visiting (1988:668)] does not permit a restraining order if the person who is to be protected by the order and the person who is to be prohibited to visit are living together in the same house. This means that if a women needs to be protected by a restraining order she has to move out of the house. We are now proposing that it should be possible to issue a restraining order even if the abuser and the abused live together. We are arguing that there is a need for this possibility in cases where the abuser has not committed an offence that will lead to a detention order, but where there is a notable risk that he will commit a violent crime. It is not proposed that it should be a requirement that the "abuser" be a suspect of any crime at all.

We are also considering the possibility for police officers to make a temporary injunction and that the officer should be empowered to expel the abuser from the dwelling. Police expulsion or the ban on returning should only be effective for 24 hours. Within 24 hours after the temporary injunction a new decision would be made by a public prosecutor. A decision of a prosecutor to ban a person from returning to his home is proposed to be effective for a maximum of 30 days. If certain circumstances are at hand, the ban can be extended for a maximum of 30 more days. The person who is prohibited from returning to his house should have the right to have the restraining order examined by a court at any time.

It is also proposed that is should be possible for a prosecutor to issue a restraining order that covers a larger area than today; for example, a larger part of a municipality (ibid.).

This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum.


Ministry of Justice, Stockholm, Sweden. 27 May 2002. Correspondence from representative.

Copyright notice: This document is published with the permission of the copyright holder and producer Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB). The original version of this document may be found on the offical website of the IRB at Documents earlier than 2003 may be found only on Refworld.

Search Refworld