Victims of rape and sexual violence will no longer have to cover their own medical costs from Monday under a trial scheme introduced by the government.
Until now the state has paid for the costs of investigating the crime, while counselling and tests for sexually transmitted diseases have been charged to the victim’s health insurance. That includes the annual excess charge of €385, meaning some victims have had to pay part of the cost out of their own pocket.
Minister for legal protection Sander Dekker said the trial scheme, which will run for a year, was designed to remove a barrier that deterred some victims from reporting sexual offences. It will cover all medical expenses for anyone who contacts a Centre for Sexual Violence within seven days of being attacked.
‘Getting the right support at the right time can make a significant difference for victims of serious crimes such as sexual violence,’ said Dekker. ‘It’s hard enough to seek help, which is why it’s important to remove as many obstacles as possible.’
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