Crime process

The criminal procedure consists of a preliminary investigation, consideration of charges, and a trial, at the end of which a verdict is given. The purpose of the criminal process is to determine whether a crime has occurred and who committed it.

Reporting a crime without delay helps the police

The sooner you report a crime, the easier it is for the police to investigate the crime and the more likely it can be solved.

Violence can also be reported to the police later. Note, however, that the investigation is more challenging after a long period of time, and that crimes have a statute of limitations that varies depending on how severe the maximum penalty for that crime is provided by law. Before the statute of limitations expires, the police must have time to investigate the crime, and the prosecutor must have time to bring charges and serve the summons to the defendant within the statute of limitations (information in Finnish behind the link).

Pretrial investigation

If the police have reason to suspect a crime, a pre-trial investigation is started. The duration of the investigation depends on several factors and can last from months to even years. For many victims, what happened may seem clear because they themselves know what has happened. For the police, however, it's not that simple. In practice, however, the investigation takes quite a long time. Sometimes, it can be delayed for months just by getting a medical certificate about the injuries.

The victim can get a support person involved in the criminal process

Mental support and up-to-date counselling related to the criminal process are essential at every stage of the criminal process. Note that the criminal process takes time.

If necessary, the victim can get a support person involved in the criminal process. The support person can be involved in making a criminal report, interrogations, meetings with a lawyer, and court proceedings. It's a good idea to ask a support person to join the criminal process from the beginning. For example, you can ask a support person trained for the task from Victim Support Finland (RIKU).

Services for the victims of crime: Legal Aid


You should also keep the evidence related to the violence in cases that you later report to the police:

  • Keep (or give it to a trusted person to keep) documents, receipts, recordings and contacts with helping parties related to the crime and its consequences.
  • If the perpetrator targets you with digital violence, keep the messages, take screenshots of them, keep a record of threatening calls, etc.
  • If there have been eyewitnesses or other witnesses to the acts of violence, it is worth recording their names and roles in relation to the crime or its consequences (e.g. if you have gone to a friend's house to escape violence, told a friend about the violence, etc.).
  • It is important that you see a doctor whenever you have injuries and psychological consequences, even if the injuries do not require medical attention.
  • It would be important that you honestly tell the nurse/doctor who caused the injuries and when. It is good to make sure that what you say is recorded in the medical record. A medical certificate has significant value in a possible lawsuit.
  • If you have been a victim of sexual violence, your injury can be documented at the Seri support centre if there is a Seri support centre in your area and less than a month has passed since the rape.
  • From the Seri support centre, you can get help for sexual violence, even if you do not report the crime to the police. Seri support centres', national services are for over 16 years old.
Children living in violent homes

The police should be notified immediately if a child is a victim of violence.

When there are children in a family where violence occurs, it is considered a child protection matter. Although children are not the primary targets of violence, they can be severely traumatized by it. No one should be alone when faced with violence.

Family members must not hurt each other in any way, for example, by hitting, kicking, pulling hair, biting or throwing objects. Many acts of mental violence, such as threats, are also prohibited by law.

Child protection: Violence and children

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