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Vem skyddar vi egentligen? – En studie om beslagsförbudet av skriftlig handling mellan närstående och begränsningens konsekvenser för utredningar av brott mot barn.

Ragnarsson, Agnes LU (2020) JURM02 20201
Department of Law
Faculty of Law
Abstract (Swedish)
Denna studie fokuserar på barnet som brottsoffer och behandlar barnets ställning i brottmålsprocessen. Barn som brottsoffer är att se som s.k. skyddslösa i och med att de utgör en särskilt utsatt grupp, detta med tanke på deras beroendeställning till vuxna. Denna utsatthet gör barnet i behov av ett särskilt skydd i rättssystemet. Det har därför i den straffrättsliga och straffprocessrättsliga lagstiftningen utvecklats vissa särskilda regler gällande barn, såsom specifika kriminaliseringar och påföljder för brott mot barn, anpassade regler om barnförhör, regler om barnets rätt till en särskild företrädare i vissa fall samt krav på brottsutredande myndigheters prioriterande av barnärenden.

Brottsbekämpande myndigheter har olika... (More)
Denna studie fokuserar på barnet som brottsoffer och behandlar barnets ställning i brottmålsprocessen. Barn som brottsoffer är att se som s.k. skyddslösa i och med att de utgör en särskilt utsatt grupp, detta med tanke på deras beroendeställning till vuxna. Denna utsatthet gör barnet i behov av ett särskilt skydd i rättssystemet. Det har därför i den straffrättsliga och straffprocessrättsliga lagstiftningen utvecklats vissa särskilda regler gällande barn, såsom specifika kriminaliseringar och påföljder för brott mot barn, anpassade regler om barnförhör, regler om barnets rätt till en särskild företrädare i vissa fall samt krav på brottsutredande myndigheters prioriterande av barnärenden.

Brottsbekämpande myndigheter har olika straffprocessrättsliga tvångsmedel till hands för att utreda brott. Ett väl nyttjat medel är tvångsmedlet beslag som innebär att polis eller åklagare beslutar att tvångsmässigt omhänderta egendom som kan användas i brottsutredande syfte eller som bevis i en rättegång vid misstanke om brott. I regelverket kring beslag finns vissa beslagsförbud som förbjuder beslagtagande i vissa situationer. Enligt ett beslagsförbud får inte utredande myndigheter beslagta skriftliga meddelanden mellan närstående förutom i fall av grov brottslighet. Motivet bakom förbudet är intresset att värna om den personliga integriteten samt förtroligheten mellan närstående. Syftet med denna studie är att utreda hur denna reglering påverkar utredningar av brott mot barn och barnets ställning i straffprocessen.

Beslagsförbudet i närståendefallet har länge kritiserats och i en pågående offentlig utredning föreslås ett avskaffande av förbudet till förmån för brottsbekämpning. Av de remissinstanser som yttrat sig i frågan framkommer en generell uppfattning av att ett totalt avskaffande är alltför integritetsinskränkande och inte tillräckligt motiverat av utredningen ifråga. Istället föreslås att man behåller lagstiftningen i sin nuvarande utformning alternativt att man delvis inskränker regeln så att undantag får göras vid utredning av fler brott men inte den lindrigaste sorten.

Av min studie framkommer att barnet har begränsade förutsättningar till rättsskydd inom straffprocessen. Detta beror delvis på att barnet har svårt för att kommunicera, svårt för att initiera en rättssak samt flera incitament till att hålla tyst om övergrepp. Ansvaret att uppmärksamma och anmäla övergrepp hamnar oftast på de närstående till barnet, samtidigt som den som utsätter barnet för övergrepp i de allra flesta fall är en närstående. Barnet är många gånger beroende av stödbevisning i brottmålsprocessen, bevisning som t.ex. beslagtagna skriftliga meddelanden innehållande eller stödjande av brottslig handling.

Så som lagstiftningen ser ut idag riskerar beslagsförbudet i närståendefallet att försvåra flera utredningar av brott mot barn och förhindra att övergrepp lagförs. Ansvaret har lagts på målsäganden och det är brottsoffret, och/eller den som för brottsoffrets talan, som behöver ha en aktiv och medhjälpande roll i brottsutredningen för att meddelanden av relevans ska lämnas in och kunna användas. Jag anser med bakgrund av min studies rättssociologiska resultat om hur barn beter sig när de utsätts för brott att den straffprocessrättsliga lagstiftningen måste ändras i denna del.

Det finns barnrättslig lagstiftning som ger barnet rätten att skyddas från övergrepp men också rätten till skydd för sin privata kommunikation. Barnets, likväl en misstänkt gärningsmans, integritet får dock inskränkas om intrånget har lagstöd och inte utförs godtyckligt. Integritetsintresset ter sig dessutom annorlunda gällande brott mot barn eftersom att barn inte har samma möjligheter att uttrycka sig som vuxna kan.

Användningen av tvångsmedel som beslag är redan reglerad utifrån flertalet principer för att skydda den enskilde individens integritet. Beslagsförbudet i närståendefallet utgör ännu ett integritetsskydd som fått en utökad omfattning i och med att enskilda idag i större utsträckning kommunicerar skriftligen genom t.ex. sms och sociala medier. Med tanke på dagens stränga krav på att skydda barn från övergrepp kan inte intresset att värna om familjens förtrolighet anses motivera detta ytterligare integritetsskydd. Beslagsförbudet i närståendefallet borde därför inskränkas eller avskaffas totalt med hänsyn till det brottsutredande intresset. När det gäller brott mot barn behöver lagstiftningen anpassas enligt ett barnperspektiv, inte ytterligare begränsas eller försvåras. (Less)
Abstract
This study concerns the child as a victim of crime and deals with the child's position in criminal proceedings. Children as victims of crime are seen as so-called defenceless since they constitute a particularly vulnerable group, this considering their dependence on adults. This vulnerability makes the child in need of special protection in the justice system. Therefore, in the criminal and criminal procedure legislation, particular rules concerning children have been developed, such as specific criminalization and penalties for crimes against children, adapted rules on child interrogation, rules on the child's right to a legal representative in certain cases and requirements on the criminal investigating authorities' priority of child... (More)
This study concerns the child as a victim of crime and deals with the child's position in criminal proceedings. Children as victims of crime are seen as so-called defenceless since they constitute a particularly vulnerable group, this considering their dependence on adults. This vulnerability makes the child in need of special protection in the justice system. Therefore, in the criminal and criminal procedure legislation, particular rules concerning children have been developed, such as specific criminalization and penalties for crimes against children, adapted rules on child interrogation, rules on the child's right to a legal representative in certain cases and requirements on the criminal investigating authorities' priority of child cases.

Law enforcement agencies have various criminal procedural tools at hand to investigate crimes. A common manner is seizing, which means that police or prosecutors decide to forcible seize objects that can be used for criminal investigations or as evidence in a trial in case of suspected crime. In the legislation on seizures, there are certain seizure prohibitions that forbid seizure in certain situations. According to one of those prohibitions, investigating authorities may not seize written communications between related parties except in cases of severe crime. The motive behind the prohibition is the interest to protect personal privacy as well as the confidentiality of relatives. The purpose of this study is to investigate how this regulation affects investigations of crimes against children and the child's position in the criminal process.

The prohibition of seizure in case of related persons has been criticized for a long time and an ongoing governmental official report suggests the abolition of the prohibition in favour of law enforcement. From the referral procedure, there is a general perception on the matter that a total abolition is too restricting to citizens´ integrity and not sufficiently justified by the investigation in question. Instead, it is proposed to keep the legislation in its current form or, alternatively, to partially limit the rule so that exceptions may be made when investigating further types of crime but not minor offences.

My study shows that the child has limited abilities for legal protection in the criminal process. This is partly due to children’s difficulties in communicating, difficulties in initiating a lawsuit, and several incentives to stay silent about abuse. The responsibility to notice and report offences usually lies with those close to the child, while at the same time the person who usually exposes the child to abuse is a close relative. The child is often dependent on supporting evidence in criminal proceedings, e.g. seized written messages containing or supporting criminal means.

As of how the legislation appears today, the prohibition of seizure in case of related persons risks making it even more difficult in investigations of crimes against children and preventing prosecution of perpetrators. Responsibility has been placed on the plaintiff and it is the victim, and/or the victim´s guardian or representative, who needs to have an active and assisting role in the criminal investigation in order for relevant messages to be submitted and used. Based on the legal sociological results of my studies on children´s behaviour when exposed to crimes, my opinion is that the criminal procedure law must be changed in this part.

There are children´s rights legislation that provides the child the right to protection from abuse but also the right to protection of his private communication. However, the integrity of the child, as well as the integrity of a suspected perpetrator, may be impaired if the infringement has legal support and is not carried out arbitrarily. In addition, the integrity interest is different with regard to crimes against children, since children do not have the same opportunities to express themselves as adults can.

The use of seizure is already regulated on the basis of several legal principles in protection of the privacy of the individual. The prohibition of seizure in case of related persons constitutes yet another means of integrity protection that has been extended since individuals today to a greater extent communicate in writing, e.g. through sms and social media. Given today's strict requirements to protect children from abuse, the interest in protecting the family's confidentiality cannot be considered to justify this additional protection of privacy. The prohibition of seizure in case of related persons should therefore be reduced or completely abolished with regard to the interest of criminal investigation. Regarding crimes against children, the legislation needs to be adapted according to a child perspective, not further restricted or made more difficult. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
Ragnarsson, Agnes LU
supervisor
organization
alternative title
Who are we protecting? - A study on the prohibition of seizure of written documents between relatives and the consequences of the restriction on investigations of crimes against children.
course
JURM02 20201
year
type
H3 - Professional qualifications (4 Years - )
subject
keywords
straffrätt, rättssociologi, rättsvetenskap, barnrätt, tvångsmedel, processrätt, straffprocessrätt, barnkonventionen, brottmål, brottsoffer, criminal law, criminal procedural law, children´s rights, victims of crime
language
Swedish
id
9010838
date added to LUP
2020-06-16 20:16:40
date last changed
2020-06-16 20:16:40
@misc{9010838,
  abstract     = {This study concerns the child as a victim of crime and deals with the child's position in criminal proceedings. Children as victims of crime are seen as so-called defenceless since they constitute a particularly vulnerable group, this considering their dependence on adults. This vulnerability makes the child in need of special protection in the justice system. Therefore, in the criminal and criminal procedure legislation, particular rules concerning children have been developed, such as specific criminalization and penalties for crimes against children, adapted rules on child interrogation, rules on the child's right to a legal representative in certain cases and requirements on the criminal investigating authorities' priority of child cases.

Law enforcement agencies have various criminal procedural tools at hand to investigate crimes. A common manner is seizing, which means that police or prosecutors decide to forcible seize objects that can be used for criminal investigations or as evidence in a trial in case of suspected crime. In the legislation on seizures, there are certain seizure prohibitions that forbid seizure in certain situations. According to one of those prohibitions, investigating authorities may not seize written communications between related parties except in cases of severe crime. The motive behind the prohibition is the interest to protect personal privacy as well as the confidentiality of relatives. The purpose of this study is to investigate how this regulation affects investigations of crimes against children and the child's position in the criminal process.

The prohibition of seizure in case of related persons has been criticized for a long time and an ongoing governmental official report suggests the abolition of the prohibition in favour of law enforcement. From the referral procedure, there is a general perception on the matter that a total abolition is too restricting to citizens´ integrity and not sufficiently justified by the investigation in question. Instead, it is proposed to keep the legislation in its current form or, alternatively, to partially limit the rule so that exceptions may be made when investigating further types of crime but not minor offences.

My study shows that the child has limited abilities for legal protection in the criminal process. This is partly due to children’s difficulties in communicating, difficulties in initiating a lawsuit, and several incentives to stay silent about abuse. The responsibility to notice and report offences usually lies with those close to the child, while at the same time the person who usually exposes the child to abuse is a close relative. The child is often dependent on supporting evidence in criminal proceedings, e.g. seized written messages containing or supporting criminal means.

As of how the legislation appears today, the prohibition of seizure in case of related persons risks making it even more difficult in investigations of crimes against children and preventing prosecution of perpetrators. Responsibility has been placed on the plaintiff and it is the victim, and/or the victim´s guardian or representative, who needs to have an active and assisting role in the criminal investigation in order for relevant messages to be submitted and used. Based on the legal sociological results of my studies on children´s behaviour when exposed to crimes, my opinion is that the criminal procedure law must be changed in this part.

There are children´s rights legislation that provides the child the right to protection from abuse but also the right to protection of his private communication. However, the integrity of the child, as well as the integrity of a suspected perpetrator, may be impaired if the infringement has legal support and is not carried out arbitrarily. In addition, the integrity interest is different with regard to crimes against children, since children do not have the same opportunities to express themselves as adults can.

The use of seizure is already regulated on the basis of several legal principles in protection of the privacy of the individual. The prohibition of seizure in case of related persons constitutes yet another means of integrity protection that has been extended since individuals today to a greater extent communicate in writing, e.g. through sms and social media. Given today's strict requirements to protect children from abuse, the interest in protecting the family's confidentiality cannot be considered to justify this additional protection of privacy. The prohibition of seizure in case of related persons should therefore be reduced or completely abolished with regard to the interest of criminal investigation. Regarding crimes against children, the legislation needs to be adapted according to a child perspective, not further restricted or made more difficult.},
  author       = {Ragnarsson, Agnes},
  keyword      = {straffrätt,rättssociologi,rättsvetenskap,barnrätt,tvångsmedel,processrätt,straffprocessrätt,barnkonventionen,brottmål,brottsoffer,criminal law,criminal procedural law,children´s rights,victims of crime},
  language     = {swe},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {Vem skyddar vi egentligen? – En studie om beslagsförbudet av skriftlig handling mellan närstående och begränsningens konsekvenser för utredningar av brott mot barn.},
  year         = {2020},
}