The right to protection against violence

Your rights

  • You have the right to protection at a women’s shelter in Gothenburg.
  • You have the right to a life without violence and discrimination! Your body is yours!

According to international agreements, all women, even those living as undocumented within a country, have the right to protection against violence. Even if you do not have a residence permit in Sweden, NO ONE has the right to use violence against you, not someone in your family, not your boss, not your landlord, not government officials, not the police. When someone does something to you that you do not want, say NO! You have the right to protection and you have the right to defend yourself.

In Sweden there is a law called the Violence Against Women Act (Kvinnofridslagen), which states that women have the right to protection from violence. For example, you have the right to a safe haven, a so-called shelter (kvinnojour) if needed. Women also have the right to support, in contact with police and the courts. Unfortunately, the Aliens Act (Utlänningslagen) has a gigher status than the Women’s Act. This leads to women not receiving the necessary protection they need, and makes it difficult for shelters to receive funding from the municipality in order to provide necessary protection.

In 2011 the Gothenburg municipality decided to provide undocumented women with protection from violence through financially funding shelters providing protection forundocumented women. So far this haven’t worked out very well, but it is important to know that undocumented women and transgender persons have the right to stay at a shelter if you should be a victim of violence, abuse or discrimination.

Violence can take different forms, for example:

  • Physical violence: punches, pushing and holding.
  • Psychological violence: offensive words, emotional blackmail, threats of violence or control of your life.
  • Sexual violence and sexual harassment: to force you to have sex against your will, to touch you against your will or to force you to do sexual acts against your will.

If you live in a violent relationship, keep in mind:

  • To have copies of important documents, passports and other identification documents in a safe place.
  • Have a bag packed with clothes, medicine and other personal belongings that you or your children might need.
  • Find out what your rights are. Seek help and support through the internet, books, friends, and organizations.

Free support, help and information about protection from violence:

  • Women’s shelter Ada 031-13 11 66
  • Women’s shelter Terrafem 020-52 10 10
  • National Organization for Women’s and Girl’s Shelters in Sweden (ROKS) 020-50 50 50
  • Stödnätet (Support network) 031-331 21 79 or 031-331 99 02
  • Socialjouren (Emergency Social Services) 031-365 87 00
  • The Finish women’s shelter Piilopirtti in Angered ( 031-330 25 56
  • Support network Ingen människa är illegal (“No one is illegal”) 0704-37 75 24