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What the Equality Ombudsman doesn’t do (Vad DO inte gör)

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The Equality Ombudsman’s task is to combat discrimination on grounds of sex, transgender identity or expression, ethnicity, religion or other belief, disability, sexual orientation or age. But the Ombudsman can only intervene in matters relating to working life, university-level education, school education and school-age childcare, and certain other areas. The protection available also tends to vary, depending on the ground for discrimination involved.

Read more about when legal protection against discrimination applies, to whom and how.

The Office of the Equality Ombudsman cannot change court rulings, impose penalties or grant compensation itself, or change the decisions of other agencies. Nor can it take legal action against a private individual, for exemple if  you have been insulted, abused, sexually molested or harassed by a neighbour

Who can I contact?

Many people contact the Equality Ombudsman when they feel unfairly treated in one way or another. But the Ombudsman can only help if there is support for its actions in the anti-discrimination legislation. Ask the agency, association or company you are dissatisfied with who you should contact if you wish to make a complaint. Below are some examples:

TV and radio programmes

Submit complaints to the Swedish Broadcasting Commission.
www.grn.se 

Wrongly treated by a public service or official

If you feel you have been wrongly treated by a government agency or municipal authority, or by an individual official employed there, and you have not obtained redress from the institution itself, you can file a complaint with the Parliamentary Ombudsman.
www.jo.se

Breaches of freedom of expression/freedom of the press

The principal task of the Chancellor of Justice (JK) is to monitor the work of public authorities and officials in order to detect systematic wrongdoing in public activities. The Chancellor may also take legal action against bodies violating freedom of expression or freedom of the press.
www.jk.se

Bullying

Abusive behaviour at school other than discrimination is dealt with by the School Inspectorate’s Child and School Student Representatives.
www.skolinspektionen.se/beo/

Legal assistance

If you wish to take a dispute to court or would like to appeal an administrative decision, you may need a lawyer. The Bar Association lists the addresses of lawyers all across Sweden. It also registers complaints if you feel that your lawyer has not discharged his or her task correctly.
www.advokatsamfundet.se

Insulted by a private individual

If you have been insulted, abused, sexually molested or harassed by a neighbour or some other private individual, you can report the matter to the police. The Equality Ombudsman cannot take legal action against private individuals, for exemple if  you have been insulted, abused, sexually molested or harassed by a neighbour
www.polisen.se

Violence against women/Violence in same-sex relationships

There are emergency shelters for women and girls in many parts of Sweden. The websites of the two main organisations running them – ROKS and SKR – show where the nearest shelter is located. The Swedish Federation for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Rights (RFSL) operates a crime victims hotline.
www.roks.se
www.kvinnojour.com
www.rfsl.se/brottsoffer

Gender discriminatory advertising

The Advertising Ombudsman investigates complaints and takes decisions for or against.
www.reklamombudsmannen.org

Agitation against national or ethnic groups

In Sweden, it is a crime to spread a statement or other communication that threatens or expresses contempt for an ethnic or national group on grounds of race, colour, national or ethnic origin, belief or sexual orientation. Since the perpetrator’s motives are the decisive factor, it is enough if she or he commits the offence against you in the belief that you belong to a minority. Most reported hate crimes have xenophobic or homophobic motives.
www.polisen.se

Hate crimes

Hate crimes are crimes where the perpetrator is motivated by a negative attitude to minorities of one kind or another due to their colour, national or ethnic origin, sexual orientation, religion or belief. Since the perpetrator’s motives are the decisive factor, it is enough if she or he commits the offence against you in the belief that you belong to a minority. Most reported hate crimes have xenophobic or homophobic motives.

The RFSL crime victim hotline can offer help and support to LGBT persons subjected to such violence.
www.rfsl.se/brottsoffer

Accessibility

The principal responsibility for matters relating to accessibility and disability policy lies with the Swedish Agency for Disability Policy Coordination, Handisam.
www.handisam.se

Date of publication: 2010-05-05