This web page is part of the Guide to the Icelandic justice system for 14 year olds and younger who have experienced sexual abuse.

Don’t block the perpetrator on social media although you may want to. It’s difficult not to but well worth trying. Your communication history is data in the case. It disappears if you block the person.

How does the investigation work?

The police collect all the data that can be found. The goal is to have enough data to take the case to the district court.

In order to do this they:

  • Call in the perpetrator for an interview at the police station, which is called “giving a statement.”
  • Call in witnesses to give a statement.
  • Compare what you said about the case to what the perpetrator and the witnesses said.

The data that is collected is, for example:

  • Security camera footage.
  • Copying phones or phone data, with the permission of your parents or guardians.
  • Communication on social media, with the permission of your parents or guardians.
  • Obtain certificates from doctors, psychologists, and similar professionals, with the permission of your parents or guardians.

Where is the case investigated?

Police in the district (the area) where the offence took place investigate your case. If there is no specific division for sexual offences in the district, the police will get support from other districts.

Offence categorised

First, the offence is categorised. That means that it is placed under a specific provision of law.

Important information about the perpetrator

If you can say who the perpetrator is right away, the police try to contact them immediately. That makes it possible to collect important data. If the offence is not recent, the police evaluate what data can be collected in each case, for example from the scene where the offence was committed.

If the perpetrator lives abroad

There are various steps that can be taken in a sexual offence investigation even if the perpetrator is only in the country temporarily, for example if they are a tourist.

You should not let a perpetrator’s short stay prevent you from pressing charges. As in all other sexual offence cases, it is best to get the police on the case as soon as possible so that the perpetrator can be found. If they have left the country, the Icelandic police often work with police in the perpetrator’s home country to find them.

When the investigation is finished

A fully investigated case

A department within the police called the prosecution department decides what to do with the case. If the prosecution department considers that it cannot be investigated further, it goes to the district prosecutor’s office. Then the case is considered fully investigated. But your case will not necessarily go from the police to the district prosecutor.

Investigation ceased (stopped)

It can be difficult to prove a case in court. It requires a lot of information and data. The police’s prosecution department might determine that it is not possible to prove the case well enough in court. Then the case is not sent to the district prosecutor’s office. Usually, that means nothing more is done on your case in the justice system.

  • That just means that there was not enough data to take the case further. This not does mean that your experience is not real or that the abuse did not happen.
  • It is possible to appeal the decision to cease an investigation to the Director of Public Prosecutions (ríkissaksóknari). Your legal rights protector assists you with that process.

Request to reopen the investigation

It is difficult to start again when a case is fully investigated. To do so, new information needs to emerge that was not available when the investigation was ceased. You must also request the investigation be reopened. The police look at the data to evaluate whether to start investigating again or not.

Investigation ceased at the request of the victim

Your parents or guardians can ask for the investigation to be ceased (stopped). To do so, they need to go to the police along with your legal rights protector and explain why they want to withdraw the charges. If the investigation is ceased it is possible to continue it later if more data emerges.

Access to data

While the case is under investigation, your parents or guardians have the right to receive information about its status and access to the case data. It is your legal rights protector who asks for information about case data for you. The perpetrator also has the same right and their defence (lawyer) asks for the data on their behalf. The access of data cannot interfere with the investigation, however.

  • It is not permitted to view data or parts of data that contain sensitive personal information about anyone other than the person who is requesting to see the data – unless certain conditions are fulfilled.
  • The police and staff of the justice system can also get access to the documents to use in their work, while the case is being investigated.
  • If the investigation of the case is ceased, you have the right to access all of the case data.

Receiving information

Your parents or guardians and your legal rights protector receive notifications from the police’s prosecutions department by letter on These are notifications about whether the case has been sent onward, back for more investigation, or whether the investigation has been ceased.


The investigation can take 4–6 months. The police’s prosecution department then also needs to look over the case. Altogether the process within the police takes around one year.

The length of the investigation can vary greatly but the length of time does not reflect how much effort the police put into investigating, rather how complex the case is.