Rights in Sweden

What does the law say?

According to Swedish law, it is illegal to discriminate against or harass people. Swedish law also provides special protection for people subjected to discrimination or harassment on the basis of sexual orientation or transgender identity or expression. The Discrimination Act offers protection in areas such as at work, at school or university, and in health care and social services. Information on discrimination legislation is available in English from Sweden’s Equality Ombudsman. You may contact the equality ombudsman to get answers to questions, support, and legal assistance.

Hate crimes

Swedish law also provides special protection for people and groups subjected to hate crimes. A hate crime is committed when the crime against a person is motivated by hate or contempt for the victim’s group belonging. This can involve a hatred or contempt of transgender people, homosexual or bisexual people, people of a certain faith or religion, or people of certain ethnicity or nationality.

Examples of hate crimes are when one person assaults another person and calls him a “fucking faggot” or similar, or when someone subjects a classmate to repeated harassment and calls him or her a “fucking nigger” or uses a similar racial slur. Any criminal act may have a hate crime motive, and a crime judged to be a hate crime may carry more severe sentences. This is regulated by law concerning the severity of sentences, which protects both transgender people as well as homosexuals and bisexuals.

It is also against the law to threaten or by other means express contempt against a group of people based on their race, skin color, national or ethnic origin, faith, or sexual orientation. This is called hate speech.

If you feel that a crime has been committed against you, it is important that you report it to the police. You can receive support and assistance to file such a report from RFSL crime victim support or by contacting the Swedish Association for Victim Support (BOJ), telephone +46-8-642-0044. BOJ victim support services are located in some one hundred towns and cities throughout Sweden and offer support in a number of languages.