In Sweden, the age of criminal responsibility is 15. If the suspect is under 15, the crime may anyway be investigated, but the case will not be tried in court and the main responsibility for the consequences rests with the social services.

For those persons aged between 15 and 17, "juveniles" in the eyes of the legal system, special regulations apply.


The case shall be dealt with expediently if the victim of an offence is younger than 18 and the crime has been directed at the victim’s life, health, freedom or peace. A young victim is entitled to the help of a victim’s legal adviser during the trial.


It is important for there to be a rapid reaction on the part of society in order to illustrate the link between crime and sanction. Therefore, a particularly expedient processing of the case is necessary if a juvenile is suspected of having committed the crime.

Juveniles can also be deprived of their freedom, i.e. arrested or remanded in custody. This only happens in the case of serious crimes.
It is common practice for juveniles to be granted a waiver of prosecution or an order for summary penalty, but if a prosecution is initiated and legal proceedings are instigated, the suspect’s custodian is informed or given notice to attend the main court proceedings. A juvenile suspect is more entitled than an adult to receive the assistance of a public defence counsel.

For juveniles who are suspected of having committed an offence, there are special sanctions. One of these is "juvenile care" which is an action plan developed by the social services. Another sanction for juveniles is "juvenile service" which can be compared with the community service to which adults can be sentenced. If someone is guilty of a really serious crime, he or she can be sentenced to "institutional juvenile care" for a maximum of four years.