Force murderers to move away from victims' relatives: survivors assoc.

Crime scene tape
Crime scene tape. (Photo: Politie)

The Dutch association for relatives of victims of violence LOVNG wants people who were found guilty of murder and manslaughter to be banned from ever living in the same areas as their victims' relatives. The association plans to start lobbying for this after the summer. "I believe the time is right for it", Jack Keijzer, a driving force behind this idea, said to newspaper AD.

Many relatives of victims come face to face with the person who is responsible for the death of a loved one on the street or in the supermarket, according to LOVNG. "It causes a lot of suffering and a permanent feeling of unease. In Belgium there are possibilities for a permanent residence ban, we want that in the Netherlands too", Keijzer said to the newspaper. 

Victim assistance organization Slachtofferhulp asked a group of lawyers to investigate the possibilities of such a residence ban. But this is a difficult issue, Victor Jammers of the organization said to AD. "It's complicated. Although the perpetrator did something terrible, he still has to find his place in society again. At the same time, it is at odds with the interests of the survivors. Because we know about this issue, we asked some lawyers to see what is possible."

Imposing an area ban is already possible in the Netherlands, but only for a limited time. Once that period expires, the perpetrator is again free to stay where he or she wants.

Rehabilitation Netherlands also knows that the current possibilities are limited, director Sjef van Gennip said to NOS. He does, however, have his reservation about a permanent residence ban. "As rehabilitation, we always talk to convicted people about the sensitivities about returning to the place where they made victims. Some people get that and search for somewhere else to live, but you can't force it." 

A permanent residence ban risks turning the perpetrators into outcasts, according to Van Gennip. "Realize that there must really be an alternative for those people, because we all know the stories of sex crime convicts who are not welcome anywhere anymore. They wander everywhere and nowhere without there being supervision on it. We must prevent that."