Police deal with more reports of rape, but more cases are not making it to court

Statue of justice.
Photo: Depositphotos.com
Statue of justice.
Photo: Depositphotos.com

Dutch police have been dealing with more reports of rape in recent years but the percentage of cases which actually end up in court has not increased, newspaper Trouw reported on Wednesday.

In 2013, the year the national police force was formed, police received 1,245 reports of rape, but last year this had risen to 2,000, Trouw said.

The figures have been analysed by researchers at the investigative reporting platform Investico and show that the number of reports which went on to become formal cases has fallen from 49% to 38% over the seven year period.

Justice ministry inspectors said recently that victims may be unwittingly steered by detectives into not making a formal complaint given, for example, the likelihood of a case succeeding.

Almost 60% of files which are sent to the public prosecution department are not acted on, usually because of a lack of evidence, the paper said. On an annual basis, between 130 and 180 rape cases actually make it to court.

New rules

Earlier this year, justice minister Ferd Grapperhaus drew up draft legislation aimed at improving the protection offered to victims of sexual assault.

Current Dutch legislation on rape demands proof of force to secure a conviction and  does not take into account that victims may be unable to resist because they freeze, are drugged or asleep.

The legislation introduces the concept of of ‘non-consensual sex’ as a separate offence but will not offer more protection to victims, Amnesty International has told the justice ministry in its evaluation.

While Grapperhaus’s proposal would cover these cases they would only carry half the penalty set for rape. Amnesty said that neither the currently legislation nor the new proposed category of sexual assault protect victims sufficiently and said consent should be central in legislation, not proof of force.

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