This web page is part of the Guide to the Icelandic justice system for victims of sexual offences. It aims to clarify the process regarding offences against individuals 18 years and older.

Assistance following an offence

If the offence occurred recently, it is important to seek treatment and help right away. You can call 112 where you get instructions about the next steps to take or go to one of the two dedicated emergency rooms for victims of sexual abuse.

At the emergency room you can also press charges and in that case, you don’t have to go to the police station until you give a formal statement later.

What does pressing charges entail?

Crimes have to be officially reported by an individual. However, even though you press charges for the offence against you it becomes a public criminal case. It is the District Prosecutor, on behalf of the state, who issues an indictment against the perpetrator.

Investigation is launched

When you press charges for the offence against you, a police investigation is launched into it.

Is it possible to press charges for an offence that happened a long time ago?

Yes, you can press charges later. Nevertheless, it is important to keep in mind that the longer it’s been since the offence the more difficult it can prove to access important data in the case. You can always consult the police for information on whether it is too late to open a case or not.

Reporting about an offence vs. pressing charges

It is possible to report an offence to the police but not press charges. The information is then registered, and the case is logged in the police case system. In such cases, no investigation is conducted. This is done if the victim is not ready to press charges. Sometimes people change their minds and then it is beneficial to have the information already in the system. The case is then investigated after the individual presses charges.

Write down everything you remember that is connected to the offence on your phone or in a journal.

Individuals who experience serious trauma don’t necessarily remember everything right away, but then various details can come back to them bit by bit.

More good advice?

See also

How do I press charges?

If the offence happened recently then you can call 112, go to the Emergency Room for Victims of Sexual Abuse or go straight to a police station where police officers assist you.

At the police station you are taken to a room where an interview with you is recorded. Usually, it is the police officer who is on shift at each given station that attends to you.

You can press charges at any police station

You can press charges for an offence with police anywhere in the country and the same process applies to the handling of sexual offence cases at all police stations across the country. You don’t have to press charges for the crime in the same district it took place.

There are nine police districts (in Icelandic) across the country. Police in the district where the offence took place is the one that will investigate it, however. If police in a particular location is unfit to investigate the offence, for example due to family ties, the Director of Public Prosecutions (ice. ríkissaksóknari) decides which police department will investigate the case.

Making an appointment to press charges

You can make an appointment to press charges on the police website (in Icelandic). You need to identify yourself using your electronic ID, then you fill out an electronic form and send it in.

Reception for pressing charges for sexual offences in the capital area

At the Hlemmur Police Station in Reykjavík there is a special reception for pressing charges for sexual offences. You can press charges there, regardless of where it occurred.

Booking an appointment for the reception at Hlemmur is recommended so staff can ensure they can assist you. Upon arrival, you go in through the east side entrance of the police station (the entrance that is on the right if you stand facing the station).

Pressing charges at the ER

The Emergency Rooms for Victims of Sexual Abuse provide assistance with pressing charges. That is assuming that the offence has occurred within the last three weeks. If a longer time has passed since the offence occurred, you must seek assistance from a survivor support centre or press charges with the police directly.

Pressing charges at a survivor support centre

If you go to a survivor support centre, a police officer can be called in to receive a report and submit them for processing.

What happens next?

Appointment for giving a statement and more information

After you have pressed charges for the offence you are given an appointment for giving a statement to police. The police call you to find a time and place for you to give your statement. How soon you will be able to go in to give a statement after pressing charges varies but it can be around three weeks.

Legal rights protector (icel: réttargæslumaður)

Victims have the right to the services of a legal rights protector. At the police reception for sexual offences, you can choose a legal rights protector yourself or be assigned one. Legal rights protectors usually meet their clients and go over the main points with them before they go in to give a statement. Your legal rights protector is also with you when you give the statement.

Case number

After a case has been created in the police system and an appointment for taking your statement has been booked, you will receive a case number via email. You can use that number when you contact police to inquire on the status of the case.

Police information portal

The Police Commissioner of the Reykjavík Metropolitan Police operates the information portal (in Icelandic). You can also find your case number on the Mínar síður (my pages) section of that website.

The information portal is currently only accessible to victims in the capital area but authorities are working to provide country-wide access.

Perpetrator notified about charges

When the perpetrator receives a summons from police to come in to give a statement, that is the first time they are informed that charges have been pressed for the offence. If you want to know that the perpetrator has been called in to give a statement, you should make that request at the reception for sexual offences. Efforts are made to ensure that perpetrators and victims do not run into each other when they come in to give statements.

Time estimate

It could be around three weeks from when you press charges until your appointment for giving a statement. This varies, however, between police districts.

Emergency care for sexual assault victims

The Emergency care for sexual assault assists anyone who has been raped, experienced attempted rape or any other sexual abuse.

Bygging Sjúkrahússins á Akureyri

Emergency care in Akureyri for sexual assault victims

The Emergency Care for Sexual Assault in Akureyri assists anyone who has been raped, experienced attempted rape or any other sexual abuse.


Bjarkarhlíð is a center for people who have experienced abuse. There you get all the support and counseling you need in one place. All assistance is on your terms.

Bjarmahlíð in Akureyri

Bjarmahlíð is a center for people who have experienced abuse. There you get all the support and counseling you need in one place. All assistance is on your terms.

Sigurhæðir in Selfoss

Sigurhæðir is a service for victims of gender-based violence in South Iceland. There you receive coordinated counsel, support and therapy on your terms.


The police in Iceland help people who have suffered abuse of any kind. Police see abuse in close relationships as a very serious matter.