Facts Violations

Violation is an umbrella term for several different levels of crimes like unlawful threats, slander, derogatory treatment and abusive behavior. We want to help you identify where your situation fits in.

In law texts, violation is used as a way to describe someones criminal behavior. There are different levels of violations and therefore different penalties. For example, if you are subjected to a sexual violation which describes the form of the crime, but it falls within the sex crime legislation. 

It is important to think about your experience because a violation becomes a crime based on what is said, who says it, in what situation, and to whom. For example, if you are called a whore, that is a violation, but if you are called ugly, it isn’t—unless you are called ugly many times, in a systematic way. 

Advice Comebacks

If you want to respond or give comebacks, at the Cyber Hate Assistant, we think that you should. You have the right to stand up for yourself. We want to advise you not to write in affect, but instead to take a micro-pause from the situation and think about what you want to answer. Read through your text one more time before publishing. Partly because we are all active in creating the conversation culture on the internet – inclusive conversations are something we all should contribute to. And partly because of the fact that if someone violates or harasses you on the internet and you answer them in the same way in affect – their behavior stops being a criminal act.

Violations may fall under criminal law or civil law

In Sweden there are two ways of getting rectification through the law. Either through criminal law, where you turn to the police and prosecutors with the situation, or through civil law where you turn to the district court and file a lawsuit. The difference is that through criminal law, the law can lead to imprisonment as the penalty, through proving that the person has committed a crime beyond a reasonable doubt.

In civil law, the requirement for evidence is lower, and criminal damage payments can be acquired by proving the consequences for you who have been subjected. 

It can be difficult to understand who you should turn to if you experience that you have been subjected to a violation. At the Cyber Hate Assistant, we want to help you by making it clearer. Below are examples of different types of violations that are called different things, but that still fall under the collective term “violations.” All of these have different penalties.

Unlawful threats

Unlawful threats are a type of violation. The violation becomes an unlawful threat if you are scared that you or someone around you will be hurt physically, economically, psychologically, or sexually. This even applies on the internet. 

Examples of threats online can be threats to spread pictures, stalking, or track you down on social media, harass you in messages, etc. Always gather digital evidence. Often, people are threatened online with things that can happen in the offline world. This is a serious crime and should be reported to the police.

If you are exposed to unlawful threats and notice that you are specifically exposed compared to other people in the same position and experience that it is connected to the grounds of discrimination like ethnicity, sexuality, or disability, it may also be a hate crime, which would make the unlawful threat even more serious with a stronger penalty. 

If you are threatened in a chat conversation for example, or in a comment section where the tone is negative, the threat might not fall under unlawful threats. Rather, it can be seen as you both participating in this or that it was a joke. That’s why it is extremely important not to answer in affect and never respond to threats with slander, violations, or more threats. 

Hate crimes.

Advice Never answer in affect!

Never answer in affect. Don't answer the person who is attacking you by attacking them back. Just ask them to stop. A lot of the time you don't want to answer at all, which is more than understandable. But to file a police report, it can be important that you can prove that you asked the person to stop, even when it comes to sexual harassment.

Advice Gather digital evidence

Document and save everything that can be used to investigate what has happened.

Guide: Gather digital evidence 

Advice If you are threatened, do not be alone

Do not be alone. Even if the threats are online, they can have consequences offline. Make sure you're not alone.

Support and help

Advice Block and protect your social media

Advice Never answer threats!

Don't answer! It can escalate the situation and make the legal process more difficult. Always file a police report.

Advice Set aside recovery time after a threat

Make time for recovery. Being subjected to threats requires time and processing. Follow up on how you are feeling. The shock may come much later.


Slander is a type of violation that means someone spreads lies about you with the intention of damaging your reputation. The police’s primary investigation is to look at how your image or your reputation has been damaged by the slander.

If it turns out that your image or reputation has gotten worse in your circle, or in society, the person who subjected you to this can be charged in civil court and you can receive criminal damages payment. 

Spreading sexual pictures, or nude pictures, online is an example of this. Even if you have voluntarily sent the picture to the person and that person spreads the picture afterwards, it’s the spreading of the picture that is illegal and falls under slander. This even applies to those who share the picture on their social media, or in private messages. 

Gather digital evidence and file a police report. Spreading nude pictures also falls under the criminal offense of unlawful violation of integrity. It is worth looking at both of these criminal offenses when you are considering your situation. If you are under 18 years old, other rules apply. The spread of sexual or nude pictures of minors is a much more serious crime.

Unlawful violation of integrity

Child pornography offenses

Advice If someone threatens to spread private material about you – contact the police!

It is a crime to spread private material about you against your will. It is also a crime if the person uses that private material to get you to do something against your will.

Unlawful violation of integrity

Sexual harassment or abuse 

Advice It is illegal to spread nude pictures of people under the age of 18

If the material is of people under the age of 18, it is a crime to share or download the material because it is seen as child pornography. Gather digital evidence of everyone who has shared the picture(s) - they are all accomplices!

Here is how to gather digital evidence.

Advice You can remove the private images that have been spread

The Cyber Hate Assistant has a guide on what to do when pictures have been spread. When you have located the image, you have to contact the administrator of the page so that they remove the image. If it feels uncomfortable to search for your own private pictures, as someone to do it for you.

Get rid of private pictures

Advice You are not alone, get support!

Get help from the people around you. You do not have to be alone in this. Cyber hate falls within the responsibility of the employer, school, association or organization.

Support and help.

What is not slander?

For example, writing on Twitter that someone is dumb, incompetent, or ugly can be slander, it depends on who is being described as such. If it is a famous or public person, it is not slander unless it is repeated in a systematic way.

Of course, this does not make it any less unpleasant for you who are subjected, and if it is because of your engagement, elected position, or work, they have a responsibility to give you support and help you in this. Bring the case to your organization!


Abuse is a behavior that is also a violation, but not serious enough to fall under the criminal category like for example slander or unlawful threats. A disturbing or unacceptable behavior is a type of abuse. It can be difficult to know where your situation fits in: abuse, slander, or unlawful threat? 

That’s why it can be good to get guidance. For example, you can contact Victim Support Sweden. You can also contact the police, of course. 

An example of abuse is when someone contacts you many times, even though you have asked the person to stop. The extreme of this behavior is stalking which is also a form of harassment (unlawful persecution) or sexual harassment. 

Simply put, the crimes that start out as abuse, and abuse that goes further or is systematic is eventually classified as harassment. 

Always gather digital evidence of disturbing or unacceptable behavior, both big and small things. If it escalates, you have a stronger foundation to stand on when filing a report.

Contact Victim Support Sweden.


Insults - when behaving poorly towards you is also illegal 

Insults, hate, disses, or shade kan be seen as a type of violation. This includes situations where the person has said derogatory things about you that violate your self-esteem or dignity. Unlike slander, it is enough for the person to say something derogatory to you without spreading it to others. 

If someone writes, “Whore” directly to you, it isn’t slander because it hasn’t been spread to others, but it can still be an insult that is illegal. 

Gather digital evidence and ask the person to stop. Do not answer in affect or respond with more violations if you want to report to the police, because then it immediately stops being a crime when you both violate each other. However, it is always a crime if the violation can be connected to hate crime legislation. 

Advice Never answer in affect!

Never answer in affect. Don't answer the person who is attacking you by attacking them back. Just ask them to stop. A lot of the time you don't want to answer at all, which is more than understandable. But to file a police report, it can be important that you can prove that you asked the person to stop, even when it comes to sexual harassment.

Advice Ask the person to stop - maybe

Even if it can be difficult or threatening, it may be good to ask the person to stop or stop trying to contact you. Do not do this if you feel like it will put your safety at risk. The reason this is important is because when you file a police report, it is often required that you have made the person understand that their behavior is unwanted. However, for women and other marginalized groups, especially trans people, it can be dangerous to speak up and say no. Trust your instinct. Contact the police or other support services right away.

If you are exposed in school, at the workplace, or in your organization

It is the specific responsibility of the school, employer, and organization to investigate the situation if you are exposed to a violation in relation to you being in school, working, or being engaged in that organization. Both schools, employers, and associations have the responsibility to make sure their organizations are safe spaces, and that offensive behavior is prevented and that the person affected is taken care of. 

If you are subjected to violations and notice that you are specifically exposed compared to other people in the same position and experience that it is connected to the grounds of discrimination, it may also be a hate crime. 

It is important to sort out the situation properly to know if the motive for the crime can be linked to hate crimes. If so, the violation is judged more strictly, and your workplace or association is responsible for investigating the case from the hate crime perspective as well. 

Employer responsibility

School responsibility

Hate crimes.

Advice Take your mental health seriously

Put your mental health first. Sometimes, it can be important to take a break from social media accounts. Let someone else take care of or clear out your social media.

Support and help 

Advice If you are not listened to

If you are not listened to, there are many special interest organizations that work specifically with the grounds of discrimination or minority perspectives. Move forward and seek support from these organizations, you are not alone! It's common that minority perspectives are not understood, this is called gaslighting.

Our support page is organized based on different issues, check out who you should contact


Advice Employers have investigative responsibility for your work that is online

If you experience mistreatment in your work, your employer always has investigative responsibility. File a report right away. Refer to the labor law. Support and help.

Advice Schools have the responsibility to investigate, even on the internet!

Report directly to the school and contact your guardians. Even if they think it is bullying, it can be harassment according to the law. Make sure you get the right support and investigation.

Crimes on the internet

Advice Cyber hate as a result of membership in an organization or association, report!

As a member of an organization or an association, they have the responsibility for you and the cyber hate that can occur as a result of the membership. If they don't have action plans for the internet, they should deal with that right away.

Organizations can get help with this work 

If you aren't heard, there is support and help to continue this process 

Summary of violations

Without legal competence, it is difficult to get clear information about where your situation fits in. At the Cyber Hate Assistant, we have received legal advice in the preparation of this material, but we are not legal experts. 

It is worth considering that sometimes it is easier to get economic reparations in civil court where the requirement for evidence is lower. 

In criminal court, the requirement for evidence is higher and the process often takes a longer time, but if it is a serious crime, the reparation can feel even more important. There are examples of people who have not gotten reparations though the criminal court, but still gotten economic compensation through the civil court. 

Even if your situation does not fit into a crime classification, your experiences of cyber hate are the most important and you always have the right to get support and help to process the situation. 


Chapter 4 § 5 Swedish Penal Code, Chapter 5 § 1 Swedish Penal Code, Chapter 5 § 3 Swedish Penal Code, Chapter 4 § 7 Swedish Penal Code