Monday, December 28, 2015 - 11:18
Police plan new strategy in working with sex crimes victims
The police are simplifying the procedure of pressing charges related to a sex offense. Officers and victims will soon have to cover fewer topics during the interview prior to pressing charges. Additionally, sex crimes investigators will allow victims to determine how much "time for reflection" they need in order to better decide for themselves if they want to pursue a criminal case under less pressure from the immediate situation. These new rules take effect in January 2016 the Volkskrant reports. The current rules include a reflection period of two weeks, but this led to confusion as some officers believed that victims should always use the full two weeks. This uncertainty resulted in a woman from Groningen having to wait two weeks before she could report a sexual assault on her person. A police spokesperson called it a "misconception" to the newspaper, stating that the two weeks reflection period was never mandatory. The police will also place more emphasis on the so-called "ex-officio investigation", which means that the police will investigate whether or not the victim decides to press charges. According to Nicole Nierop, coordinator of the Special Expert Group Extraordinary Sex Crimes, it is important that the interview before a victim presses charges remains in place. This conversation gives victims more information about what will happen if they do press charges. This includes whether the case is legally feasible and how the court procedure will work. According to her, many victims do not know that the case may be publicly tried.