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Right to protection and safety
 
Victims enjoy rights which are to guarantee their protection and safety. This includes precautions against attempted intimidation or revenge by the offender, as well as measures ensuring that the proceedings cause as little distress as possible for the victim.

Victims have the right to state an address for summons (i.e. an address for the service of documents) which need not be identical with their actual residential address. This could be the address of the lawyer representing the victim. For justified reasons, they may apply for non-disclosure of residence registry data with the residence registry office.

On request, victims must be informed if the accused is released from pre-trial detention. Victims of violence must be informed without there being a need to apply separately.

If the offender is not in custody, you may apply for a restraining order at the first instance court having jurisdiction for your place of residence in order to protect yourself against violence, domestic violence, or interference with your private sphere. You do not need a lawyer to file this application. The intervention centres against violence in the family and the violence protection centres will provide assistance in such cases. The restraining order is issued by the court and enforced by the police.

Witnesses in criminal proceedings are allowed to testify anonymously if - based on concrete facts - there is a concern that they would seriously endanger their lives, health, physical integrity or freedom or that of others by disclosing their names or that of another person or by answering questions that would allow to infer such information. In such a case, the witness may alter his/her external appearance and need not disclose his/her name. Only their facial expressions must stay recognisable, since this is indispensable for assessing the credibility of their statement.

In the same circumstances the right to inspect the case file may also be curtailed. Those parts of the case file which allow inferring the identity of the witness will then be excluded. Copies of these parts of the case file must be anonymised.

In justified circumstances, a victim may apply to the residence registry office for non-disclosure of his/her address which may be granted for a period of up to 2 years.

Victims considered as particularly vulnerable may enrol in the Federal Criminal Office’switnessprotection programme.
 
     
 
 
     
 
Right to the protection of privacy

There are various ways how crime victims can protect their privacy against excessive interference from authorities and offenders.


  • Victims have the right to refuse a personal search.
  • Victims cannot be compelled to testify against relatives.
  • Victims may refuse to testify in examinations by the police, the public prosecutor and in court if they would incriminate themselves or relatives.
  • Victims may refuse to answer individual questions, if their testimony would bring disgrace or major financial loss on themselves or their relatives (the duty to testify still applies when the testimony is of particular relevance).
  • Victims may refuse to answer individual questions if they would have to disclose circumstances relating to their most intimate sphere of life (the duty to testify still applies when the testimony is of particular relevance).
  • Victims have a right to a service address regardless of their actual residential address.
  • If other persons are present, the court must ensure that the personal circumstances of the victim as a witness are not disclosed.
  • The contents of the case file must not be published.
  • TV and radio recordings and broadcasts as well as film and photo recordings of trials are forbidden.
  • • If necessary to protect the private sphere of victims and witnesses, the public may be excluded from the trial.

Please ask your competent victim help organisation or your victim advocate what you can do to protect your privacy before the beginning of the trial!

 
     
 
 
     
 
Special groups of victims
  • Victims whose sexual integrity was violated may refuse to testify on details of the criminal act which would be inacceptable for them to describe (the duty to testify still applies if the testimony is of particular relevance).
  • Particularly vulnerable victims may testify anonymously and file a petition for parts of the case file to be exempted from inspection by the accused or by counsel for defence.