Dutch too slow in domestic violence action: Hague mayor

The Netherlands is too slow in acting against domestic violence, according to mayor Pauline Krikke of The Hague. "Nationwide there are 50 deaths per year due to domestic violence. In every classroom in the Netherlands there is at least one child that has to deal with child abuse or relational violence between parents", she said to the Volkskrant.

Krikke wants restraining orders to be imposed more often and more quickly in cases of domestic violence. With such a restraining order, the perpetrator of domestic violence is banned from his or her home for a period of ten days, and may have no contact with his or her partner or children during this period. Mayors can extend the restraining order to a maximum of four weeks.

The number of domestic violence restraining orders issued in Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague and Utrecht has declined over the past years. "That's crazy", according to Krikke. "The number of incidents does not decrease." About a third of violence reports received by the police involve domestic violence. "A restraining order is a good way to freeze the situation. You separate the partners for a while, you get help in."

Krikke also wants the police to more often investigate cases of domestic violence at their own initiative if a victim does not want to press charges, and submit it to the Public Prosecution Service if necessary. "Then prosecution can be instituted without the victim actively cooperating. I have already discussed this with the police and and the Public Prosecution Service."

The Hague mayor is working on a breakthrough team for domestic violence cases. The Hague wants to visit "unruly cases" in the city in order to find a structural solution. "We will look per case at where things go wrong or get stuck", Krikke said to the newspaper. 

In the first half of 2017, the Hague branch of VeiligThuis - the advice and report center for domestic violence - received 2,337 reports and issued 1,657 recommendations.